SOUTHEND coronavirus cases have jumped by 180 in a day - after more commercial tests were included in official figures.

Public Health England figures show that 641 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am yesterday in Southend, up from 461 the same time on Wednesday.

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.

These are tests which have been done using a home testing kit or at a drive-through centre.

Previously only laboratory tests had been counted.

The rate of infection in Southend now stands at 351 cases per 100,000 people, far lower than the England average of 436.

PHE has also made changes to its reporting methods, to remove any cases that may have been counted more than once.

The change means the total number of positive cases across England on Wednesday fell by 29,726, to 283,757.

Southend's cases were among the 23,210 recorded across the East of England, a figure which rose by 7,904 over the 24-hour period.

Cumulative case counts include patients who are currently unwell, have recovered and those that have died.

As of 5pm on Wednesday, 43,995 people had died from coronavirus across the UK.