Almost 1 in every hundred people were diagnosed with Covid in South Gloucestershire in the week ending July 19.

The most recent data from Public Health England shows South Gloucestershire has the worst coronavirus case rate in the West, with 933 cases recorded per 100,000 people in the seven days ending July 19.

The area has a 70 per cent higher case rate than the national average.

New infections were higher than cities like Bristol, with 883 cases per 100,000, or Gloucester, which reported 537.

The lowest cases in the 17 reporting areas were found in Somerset West and Taunton, with 197, Dorset, with 293, and Tewkesbury with 317.

The news comes as health Secretary Sajid Javid was forced to apologise for suggesting that the nation should not “cower” from coronavirus in remarks that were branded insensitive by bereaved families and opposition MPs.

Jo Goodman, a co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group had said Mr Javid’s original comment was “deeply insensitive on a number of levels”.

“Not only are they hurtful to bereaved families, implying our loved ones were too cowardly to fight the virus, but they insult all those still doing their best to protect others from the devastation this horrific virus can bring,” she added.

The Cabinet minister on Sunday deleted the tweet in which he made the offending comment, conceding it “was a poor choice of word and I sincerely apologise”.