Merthyr Tydfil in Wales could be the UK’s new coronavirus hotspot with a greater rate of infection than Leicester.

According to oficial Government statistics 179.5 cases were diagnosed for every 100,000 people in the Welsh town in the week up to July 1. That compares to 141 per 100,000 in Leicester which became the first UK city to be put on local lockdown last week.

Cases in the Welsh area have soared in the last week, up from 10 cases per 100,000 after a recent outbreak at a meat processing plant.

But health chiefs in Wales have said there is no evidence that the infections have spread to the community from the Kepak meat plant, where 130 workers have tested positive for Covid-19.

And Public Health Wales said the surge stems from increased testing, after a cluster of 130 positive cases at the meat plant.

A spokesman said: "This does not mean there has been a significant increase in the level of infection in the community.

"If we look at other data such as hospital admissions or bio-surveillance indicators, there is no evidence of a big surge of infections in the wider community in Merthyr."

Lockdown measures were eased significantly across England at the weekend  allowing pubs and restaurants to open  for the first time since March 23.

People Leicester were exempt from these new freedoms, with locals facing an £100 fine if they try to escape the area.

Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething added: "Merthyr is a very small local authority. So one incident with that number of positive cases has driven up their population count per head.

"What they don’t have in Merthyr is sustained community transmission in the way they do have in Leicester.

"So that is why we are in a position where we don’t need to take those wider community measures."