THE Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area is a coronavirus ‘hotspot’ and is expected to remain so for the next few weeks, according to an interactive map.

The tool, created by experts at Imperial College London, shows the BCP Council area become a ‘hotspot’ on September 27.

According to projections, the BCP Council area has a 100 per cent chance of being a ‘hotspot’ until October 25.

The team at Imperial College London define a 'hotspot' as a local authority where there are more than 50 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of the population per week.

Imperial College London said: "For future weeks, we give probabilities based on our model, which assumes a situation in which no change in interventions (e.g. local lockdowns) occur. To define weeks we use specimen dates, ie the day on which tests are taken."

Data on daily reported cases and weekly reported deaths is used along with “mathematical modelling” to report on the probability that a local authority will become a 'hotspot' in the following week.

Local authorities with a 75 to 100 percent chance of being 'hotspot' areas appear in red on a map of the UK.

By October 25, many parts of the UK show as 'hot spot' areas.

Meanwhile, the probability of the R rate increasing above one in the BCP Council area is given as 100 per cent for the week ending October 10.

The R rate indicates the number of people each infected person will pass the virus onto. An R number larger than one indicates the outbreak is not under control and cases will continue to increase.

By comparison, Dorset has a very low chance of becoming a ‘hotspot’ until around October 12. The probability then rises to 62 per cent until October 25.

The New Forest will see an increasing chance in recording more than 50 cases per 100,000 of people over the next few weeks growing from 36 per cent to 55 per cent.

Dorset has a 99 per cent chance of recording an R rate greater than one for the week ending October 10 with a 94 per cent probability in the Forest.

Speaking last month, lead researcher Professor Axel Gandy, from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London, said: "COVID-19 is, unfortunately, very much still with us, but we hope this will be a useful tool for local and national governments trying to bring hotspots under control.”

As reported on the Bournemouth Echo website on Friday, Public Health Dorset said the rise in the number of confirmed cases across the county is "concerning".

Between September 28 and October 4, the BCP Council area recorded 265 cases and the Dorset Council area recorded 93 cases. These figures were up from 78 and 29, respectively, for the previous week.

Public Health Dorset has urged residents to be "vigilant".