TWO West Belfast postcodes are the worst-affected for new cases and for the highest infection rate of COVID-19 in the North.

The latest statistics on the Department of Health’s dashboard shows the number of positive cases in each postcode as well the number of people tested and the incidence rate per 100,000 population over the last seven days (July 12-18).

The news comes amidst reports that patrons of one West Belfast social club alone accounted for 30 Covid cases last week. There were also reports of clusters of infections among teenagers in the lower Falls area.

BT13, which covers Clonard, Shankill Road, Woodvale, Ballygomartin, Springmartin, Glencairn and Highfield areas recorded 342 new positive cases and a rate of 1,407.4 in the latest seven-day period.

It is the highest infection rate of any postcode in the North and the third highest number of cases recorded in any postcode.

Public Health Agency sources say a direct link can be traced to celebrations over the Twelfth in many of the areas at the centre of the latest surge in Covid cases. Battle of the Boyne euphoria combined with the Euros, which saw groups, especially of young men, gathering to watch games, has created an unfortunate double whammy to efforts to control the outbreak, said our source. 

The number of cases and infection rate is also worryingly high in BT12, which covers Sandy Row, The Village and parts of the Falls.

BT12’s infection rate is 1,206.5 with 357 new positive cases recorded.

Elsewhere in West Belfast, the rate of infection is less than half of BT12 and BT13.

BT11 (Andersonstown, Lenadoon, Suffolk, Ladybrook and Turf Lodge) recorded 159 new cases and a rate of 583.3.

BT17, which includes Dunmurry, Hannahstown, Twinbrook, Poleglass and Lagmore recorded 157 new cases and a rate of 460.1.

Across Belfast, the west of the city recorded the most new positive cases with 1,015.

In East Belfast, there were 506 new cases followed by North Belfast (391) and South Belfast (387).

In North Belfast, BT14, which covers Crumlin Road, Ballysillan and Ardoyne is the worst affected with 239 new cases and a rate of 707.5.

BT15, which covers York Road, Antrim Road and Sailortown recorded 132 new cases and a rate of 493.5.

In South Belfast, BT7 which covers the Ormeau, Botanic and University areas Stranmillis recorded the lowest infection rate in the city of 278.9 and the lowest number of new positive cases (60).

BT10, which covers the Finaghy area is worst affected with 68 new cases and a rate of 536.3.

BT9, which includes Malone, Lisburn Road, Taughmonagh and Stranmillis recorded 145 new cases and a rate of 509.5.

BT8 (Saintfield Road, Four Winds, Carryduff, Knockbreda, Newtownbreda) recorded 114 new cases and a rate of 377.1.

Finally, in East Belfast, BT4 (Sydenham, Belmont, Stormont) is worst affected with 150 new positive cases and a rate of 576.7.

BT5 (Castlereagh, Ciarawood, Crossnacreevy, Gilnahirk, Knock) is next highest with 217 positive cases and a rate of 549.2.

BT6 (Castlereagh, Woodstock, Cregagh, Knockbreda) recorded 139 new cases and a rate of 443.4.