ONLY six local authorities in Scotland have reported a rise in Covid case rates, according to latest figures. 

It has joined the trend of three UK nations to have declining figures, while Northern Ireland's rates continue to rise - overtaking England to become the UK nation with the highest rate of new coronavirus cases.

The rate for Scotland has been falling steadily for the past few weeks, and stands at 215.3, down from a peak of 427.3 on July 3.

The fall in rates that is now under way in three of the four nations reflects the recent drop in the daily number of new reported cases for the whole of the UK.

But the ongoing rise in rates in Northern Ireland is a reminder that the UK-wide figures can conceal variations between different nations.

HeraldScotland:

Every local authority area in Northern Ireland is now recording a week-on-week rise in rates.

In Scotland only six of the 32 local areas are recording a rise, however.

A total of 9,832 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Northern Ireland in the seven days to July 21 – the equivalent of 519.2 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up sharply from 253.4 one week earlier and is the highest rate for Northern Ireland since January 9, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

By contrast, England now has the second highest rate of the four UK nations and is sitting just behind Northern Ireland on 499.1 cases per 100,000 people.

While this is up week-on-week, the figure is slightly below the rates recorded for England in recent days.

Wales is also starting to show a drop in rates, with a figure of 184.1 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to July 21 – down from 192.8 one week earlier.

And in Wales, only eight of the 22 local areas have seen rates increase week-on-week.

Of the 315 local authority areas in England, 270 (86%) are still showing a week-on-week rise in rates.

This is because the fall in cases reported in recent days has yet to show up in the weekly figures.

Most regions of England are also still recording a week-on-week increase in rates.

The one exception is north-east England, where the rate stood at 804.5 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to July 21.

This is down from 910.4 one week earlier.

North-east England continues to be the main regional hotspot of the current wave of coronavirus, with Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees recording the highest local rates in the UK.

Yorkshire & the Humber has the second highest regional rate in England (589.8), followed by north-west England (545.0) and the West Midlands (511.0).

South-east England has the lowest rate: 417.8.

All rates are based on the latest data published by the UK’s health agencies.