Experts have calculated how likely it is that Hertsmere will continue being a coronavirus hotspot.

A calculator devised by Imperial College London predicts which parts of England and Wales have the greatest probability of seeing cases rise above 50 per 100,000 population per week, which it classes as a 'hotspot'.

Government figures show Hertsmere currently has the highest rate of Covid-19 cases of any area in England outside the North West and West Yorkshire - with the borough having recorded 55 cases in the seven days to September 3, equalling a rate of 52.4.

The Imperial College London website predicts that by the end of this week (September 12), Hertsmere has a 68 per cent chance of recording more than 50 cases - this is on top of the 50 plus cases that have been recorded since the end of August.

During the week ending September 19, the borough has an 85 per cent chance of seeing more than 50 cases, according to the calculator.

Watford Observer:

The calculator also devised predictions for the likelihood of the Hertsmere's R rate rising above 1 - and on September 5 it predicted a 99 per cent of this happening.

Lead researcher Professor Axel Gandy, from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial, said: "Covid-19 is, unfortunately, very much still with us, but we hope this will be a useful tool for local and national governments trying to bring hotspots under control.

"The model allows us to project where local hotspots of COVID-19 are likely to develop in England and Wales based on the trends that we’re seeing in those areas."

The website was produced by the Department of Mathemtics, in collaboration with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling within the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis (GIDA), and Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA) at Imperial.

It uses data on daily reported cases and weekly reported deaths and mathematics modelling to reported a probability that a local authority will become a hotspot in the following week.

Councillor Tim Hutchings, executive member for public health in Hertfordshire, said last week gatherings involving teenagers in private homes towards the end of August is likely to have caused an outbreak in Hertsmere.

He is urging members of the community to stick to rules around social distancing and restrict the number of people they meet outside of their household.

The leader of Hertsmere Borough Council urged the community to “work together” to stop the spread of the disease.

Councillor Morris Bright said: “We have to continue to act to prevent this current increase in the number of cases in the borough from spiralling further upwards. We do not want more deaths and untold woe for sufferers and their families.

"Wear a face covering; keep your distance; wash your hands more frequently and for longer; and if you are showing symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, you must self-isolate for 14 days.

"Thank you to all those who are helping to ram home that message in our town centres and high streets this weekend.

"Let's work together to contain this threat and keep our community safe and well."