THE number of recorded coronavirus cases in St Helens increased by four over 24 hours, the latest official figures show.

Public Health England figures show that since the start of the outbreak in March 1,197 people have been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19.

The data runs to 9am on Wednesday (July 8) in St Helens.

The 1,197 figure is up from 1,193 the same time on Tuesday.

The health body is now including Pillar 2 tests – those carried out by commercial partners – alongside Pillar 1 tests, which are analysed in NHS or PHE laboratories and which made up the first stage of the Government's mass testing programme.

Across the UK, the number of recorded cases increased by 630 over the period, to an overall total 286,979 since the start of the outbreak.

St Helens' cases were among 131 new cases recorded in the North West.

Last week data showing the number of new COVID-19 cases in each local authority was published – revealing a stable rate in St Helens but growth in neighbouring Knowsley.

The figures, released by Press Association through Public Health England, show the rate of new cases in each area, based on tests that have been carried out both in laboratories 'pillar 1' of the Government's testing programme and in the wider community 'pillar 2'.

This data showed the number of cases per 100,000 population, for the week ending Sunday, June 28.

The rate in St Helens was stable, remaining at 6.7 per 100,000 residents for a consecutive week.

However, in Knowsley it more than trebled in the last week of June.

With 20.1 cases per 100,000 residents, Knowsley had the 12th highest rate of coronavirus cases in England, up from 66th the previous week.