Covid-19 cases in Shropshire increased rapidly between Christmas Eve and December 30, Shropshire Council has said.

During this period 4,236 new cases were reported – an increase of 173 per cent on the figures from the period between December 10 to December 16.

Moreover, 32 beds were occupied by Covid-19 patients and there were three deaths associated with the disease in local hospitals.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said: “Unfortunately, as we start the new year, we have seen the number of cases in Shropshire increase rapidly, mirroring national and regional trends.

“The number of people being treated in hospital for the virus is rising and the situation is undoubtedly putting pressure on our local hospitals and care system.

“Thanks to the phenomenal vaccine effort in December though, more people than ever are now fully vaccinated, giving themselves the best level of protection against Covid-19. More than 83 per cent of the eligible population have received the booster jab, putting us as one of the highest in the country for vaccination rates.

“This year we must move forward and learn to live alongside coronavirus safely. Testing, vaccinations, good hand hygiene, face coverings and proper ventilation will slow the spread of the virus and keep Shropshire safe.”