Newquay has become the country’s Covid capital following a major music festival attended by 50,000 people.
Latest data shows the Cornish town was recording up to 1,100 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending August 14 — nearly quadruple the average in England.
The five-day Boardmasters Festival ran from August 11 to 15, which means the full impact of the event on transmission won’t be felt until later this week.
All ticket holders had to show proof of double vaccination, natural immunity or a recent negative lateral flow test to enter the festival site.
Unvaccinated revellers who were eligible to attend were also urged to attend a walk-in vaccine clinic, which was set up in the festival car park.
But public health officials say they are ‘monitoring the data’ after a large number of people claimed they tested positive for Covid after attending.
Coventry councillor Nathan Griffiths was one of the people who claimed he caught coronavirus at the event.
But Newquay, and more widely Cornwall, was already on its way to becoming a hotbed for the virus before the event. An increase staycations is thought to be behind the rise.
Newquay was already on its way to becoming a hotbed for the virus before the festival. Holiday-makers on Fistral Beach today
An increase staycations is thought to be behind the rise — punters queue up for Cornish pasties today
Newquay East had the highest infection rate of any authority in England by August 14, according to the Government’s Covid dashboard.
It was recording 1,174 cases per 100,000 people by that date, slightly above Yarborough in Lincolnshire (1,124).
Newquay West had the eighth highest rate in the country at 864.5 per 100,000.
Rounding out the top five worst-hit authorities were Bridgwater North in Sedgemoor (1,030), Cowes Central on the Isle of Wight (938.5) and Bridgwater South (936).
Councillor Nathan Griffiths claimed he caught the virus at the surf festival in Newquay over the weekend.
He tweeted: ‘Like many, I caught Covid at Boardmasters despite the mandated day 1 + 3 lat-flows [rapid lateral flow tests].
Four of the top 10 parts of England areas with the biggest outbreaks are in Cornwall, according to MailOnline analysis
public health officials say they are ‘monitoring the data’ after a large number of people claimed they tested positive for Covid after attending Boardmasters Festival, which ran from August 11 to 15
‘No complaints as I knew the risks, however, means either lat-flows aren’t reliable for such events, or Covid-positive people faked negative results. A lot to learn here for gov/event organisers.’
Another attendee said: ‘Went to Boardmasters and got Covid, everyone I know has it too. Not fun, hope everyone else with it recovers soon.’
A third tweeted: ‘100 per cent of the people we know who attended Boardmasters have come home and tested positive for Covid. Not even from the same groups of friends.’
Cornwall was already seeing a sharp and sustained rise in cases prior to the event, which experts have blamed on a staycation boom.
Local health chiefs warned that Cornwall attracts a lot of young holidaymakers, many of whom have had one or no vaccines.
Britain’s daily Covid cases hit highest level for a month
Britain’s daily Covid cases have hit their highest level for a month as hospitalisations and deaths continue to tick upwards, official figures revealed today.
Department of Health bosses posted another 36,572 positive tests — up 10.6 per cent on last week’s figure. It was the biggest 24-hour count since July 22 (39,906).
Meanwhile, both hospitalisations and deaths — which lag several weeks behind cases because of how long it can take for infected patients to become severely ill — are still creping upwards.
Some 113 victims were added to the Government’s official death toll today, up by a fifth on last Thursday. And 804 patients were admitted to hospital on August 15, the most recent day figures are available for — up 9 per cent on the previous Sunday.
Experts told MailOnline the G7 summit in June likely ‘seeded’ the outbreak, which has since been amplified by staycationers during the school break.
More Britons than usual are opting to holiday in the UK due to extortionate PCR tests required to go abroad, as well as concerns about the virus.
Professor Gary McLean, a molecular immunologist at London Metropolitan University, told MailOnline: ‘Cornwall, during the pandemic had usually fared much better than other areas, perhaps due to its relative isolation geographically and lower population density.
‘However since the G7 summit in early June, case numbers have been increasing at a rate that is amongst the highest in England.
‘This was likely seeded by the summit and influx of people at that time and has potentially been amplified by continued ‘staycation’ tourism to the region during the school holidays.
‘This is of great concern for the region and for those returning home from holidays in Cornwall – it will need to be monitored very carefully over the next few weeks.’
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline he suspects low levels of natural immunity was a factor.
He said: ‘Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly, along with Devon, have had the lowest total cases to date up to the August 16 in England so a lot of people not immune.
‘But cases started to surge from early June before a lot of holiday makers started to descend and that was probably associated with the G7 meeting.’
Professor Hunter added: ‘There is a general trend in the UK that those local authorities that have had most infections to date over the whole epidemic are not seeing as big percentage increases week on week and are more likely to be seeing falling case numbers.
‘So is the epidemic in Cornwall because of low population immunity because of low past infection rates with the trigger being G7 or is it due to holiday makers? It is probably a bit of both.’
Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George, who was elected to Cornwall Council in May, told MailOnline: ‘Resort areas of Cornwall appear to have the highest and still growing levels of Covid.
‘I don’t think it is primarily caused by holiday makers themselves, but by poor infection control rules.
‘If we had a Government which followed the science rather than chased headlines it would create a safer environment in which people could safely enjoy themselves and protect the vulnerable.
‘Death rates are still unacceptably high. But you wouldn’t think it from the lax attitude promoted by Government ministers.’