THE Borders has the lowest rate of coronavirus cases in the UK mainland, new figures reveal.

Statistics published daily by the UK Government show each council area’s rate per 100,000 over a seven-day period.

The update today (Monday, February 22) shows the Borders had 32 new cases in the seven days up to February 17, giving the region a rate of 27.7 cases per 100,000.

Borders MP John Lamont, of the Conservatives, said: “Having the lowest rate of COVID-19 in the entire UK is testament to the sacrifices made by Borderers to drive down the prevalence of this virus.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Here's how many new cases the Borders recorded over the weekend

The latest figures show Shetland has the lowest rate in the UK (zero cases), with Orkney next (two cases; rate of nine per 100,000).

At the other end of the scale, the area with the highest rate is Middlesbrough (418 cases; rate of 296.5 cases per 100,000).

Mr Lamont, the representative for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, offered his thanks to Borderers.

He said: “It has only been weeks since the Scottish Borders had one of the worst rates.

“My thanks to everyone who has done what they can to play their part.

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“I know it is not easy for people worried about their jobs and wanting to see their loved ones again.

“However, we cannot let our guard down. To do so now would risk spoiling all the hard work of the previous year.

“The UK has one of the highest rates of vaccinations in the world. So much so that the target date of giving every adult at least one dose has been brought forward to the end of July.

“I hope that Borderers can see their hard work is paying off, and that with every sacrifice we make, we get one step closer to returning to some form of normality.”