The impact of lockdown easing on Covid-19 infection rates in Cirencester, Tetbury, Malmesbury and the surrounding areas is starting to emerge after new figures were produced by Public Health England.

The data show changes in the rates of infection for the first 12 days after outdoor hospitality, gyms and hairdressers were opened on April 12.

Between April 10 and 17, reported cases in the Cotswolds dropped from six to five per 100,000 people, but then rose to 18 cases by April 24.

This means there was a fortnightly increase in coronavirus infection rates of 200 per cent, though numbers remain low.

As of April 24, the Cotswolds recorded the eighth highest Covid infection rate in the South West out of 17 reporting areas.

Coronavirus case rates rose in 12 of the 17 reporting areas between April 17 and April 24, with the biggest increase recorded in the Cotswolds.

Covid-19 rates remained the same in two areas, and dropped in three.

The highest case rates were recorded in Swindon, with 29 new infections per 100,000 people, Sedgemoor, with 24, and Bristol, 23.

No reporting area in the South West recorded a case rate above 30 per 100,000 people.

The lowest Covid case rates were found in Stroud and South Somerset, with 11 per 100,000 each, Cheltenham, with 10, and the Forest of Dean had lower rates, with 8 cases.

On April 12, hairdressers and beauty parlours, outdoor hospitality, non-essential retail and parts of gym/leisure facilities were allowed to reopen.

Zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas also opened their doors, and self-contained staycations were permitted.