Covid rates are falling across all areas of Norfolk as experts say they are "optimistic" about the virus situation.

Government data shows rates are down across all seven local authority areas leading to hopes the Omicron variant has reached its peak.

In the seven days up to January 10 the average rate across the county dropped by 28pc to 1132.1 cases per 100,000.

The biggest fall was in Broadland where levels dropped by 43pc to 1014.2.

South Norfolk saw a drop of 35pc to 1036.6 and rates in Norwich fell to 1273.8 - a drop of 26pc.

North Norfolk dropped by 27pc to 954.7, the lowest figure in Norfolk.

Great Yarmouth has the county's highest rate with 1453.7, down 24pc on the previous week.

Rates in Kings Lynn and West Norfolk were down 22pc to 1154.4, and Breckland saw a 17pc change to 1078.9.

However the number of Covid patients in hospital rose in the seven days from January 5 to 11 from 183 to 216, due to a lag between infection and illness.

The numbers are expected to come down by the end of the month.

As of January 11 there were four Covid patients on ventilators - compared to 44 at the same time last year.

On January 1 Norfolk's seven day average for infections was 2,126, but has been plotting an encouraging curve since.

The data is fuelling optimism that the worst of the pandemic is over.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chief medical adviser, said London, the South East and East of England were seeing the number of infections flatten.

Her comments came as other experts said they were optimistic about the coronavirus situation, while the Welsh Government began to ease restrictions.

Dr Chris Smith, a consultant virologist and lecturer based at Cambridge University, said current coronavirus data gave him "great cause for optimism".

He added that, because of vaccines and reinfections, around 96pc of the country now have antibodies against the coronavirus, meaning the vast majority of people can better "fend off" the disease.