SHOCKING new data analysis has revealed that daily coronavirus case numbers being reported in cities and regions under Public Health England are in fact only accounting for a fraction of the actual total.

As revealed by the Financial Times, as many as 90% of new Covid-19 cases are missing from the data.

The UK Government publishes a daily total UK-wide figure for cases, including positive tests collected in hospitals in addition to those processed at home and in laboratories.

But at a subnational level, cases being reported are in fact only based on those coming from hospitals.

And while PHE releases figures for nine of the country’s main regions with a two-week delay, hundreds of local authorities in the rest of England are finding themselves unable to access timely information on how the virus stands in their communities.

It comes as Leicester becomes the UK’s first city to go back into lockdown after a reported spike in cases, with the gap in data being suggested as the reason behind the delay in the decision to tighten restrictions in the city.

The tests are being carried out under "pillars", with the UK Government website stating that pillar one consists of "swab testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers". Pillar two accounts for "swab testing for the wider population".

Based on pillar one data for the city of Leicester, just 80 new positive tests were recorded between June 13-26.

But its new outbreak is only really made evident when pillar two data is considered – though these numbers could not be viewed by the public. Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that in fact, there were 944 new cases in this time period.

Pillar two is catching much larger shares of cases than it had been previously. This is resulting in regions being unable to spot spikes in cases without having access to that second set of data, leading to delayed action towards new outbreaks.

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Full data from both pillars are being shared with local public health bodies, but not with the public, local councils, mayors and MPs.

Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, told the BBC: “For weeks we have been trying to get information about the level of testing in the city and the results of that testing in the city.”

The city council was finally given access to this information on Thursday, but could not compare the figures with those elsewhere in the country under the Data Protection Act.

Soulsby continued: “I would wish that they had shared that with us right from the start.

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“And I wish they had taken a more speedy decision rather than leaving it 11 days. That's a long gap and a long time for the virus to spread.”

It is now being suggested that the information being made available to local authorities is not passed on in sufficient enough time for effective decisions to be made in response.

The Department for Health and Social Care told the Financial Times: “We have been working closely with our local partners, providing them with the resources and tools so that they can take swift action to deal with any new local spikes in infections.”