London coronavirus cases: More than 6,200 new Covid infections in a week… but capital ‘can avoid new lockdown’

Published: 8 October 2020, 3:48 PM

Post Desk : Covid-19’s grip on London is growing with more than 6,200 new cases in a week.

Official figures showed today there were 6,273 confirmed cases in the seven days to October 4, up from 3,965 in the previous week.

Redbridge, in east London, and Richmond, in the south-west of the capital, have both now gone above the 100 new cases per 100,000 threshold in a week, according to an up-to-date analysis of the figures.

If the infection rate rises above the threshold, new measures to combat Covid, such as a ban on households mixing, could be imposed under Boris Johnson’s (right) three-tier plans, according to reports.

The situation in London is more complex because restrictions are likely to be city-wide. A decision on tightening them could come in possibly within the next two weeks.

Part of the rise in cases in the capital is due to more testing. Peter John, chairman of London Councils, said: “London does not need to inevitably follow the North West and the North East in terms of infection rates and increased restrictions. But we can only avoid that if everyone follows the rules. If we do that, London has a fighting chance of emerging from this awful pandemic much sooner than we think.”

The epidemic is spiralling particularly in cities in the North and Midlands, including Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham — at a significantly faster rate than London.

Infection rates in the hardest-hit boroughs of London are less than a fifth as high as the hotspots in the North.

There are 359 Covid patients in hospital in the capital, 59 of whom are on ventilators. For the smaller North West region, the figures are 1,030 in hospital and 115 on ventilators. In the North East and Yorkshire region, there are 772 in hospital and 94 on ventilators.

However, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: “The figures for the number of cases in London are worrying. If the trend continues it’s just weeks away from being the same as what we are currently seeing in the North. That would be hugely damaging for the UK as a whole given that it’s such an economic powerhouse.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “With further restrictions increasingly likely, it is even more urgent that the Government come forward with a new package of emergency financial support for businesses and employees.

“Many of our hospitality venues and other businesses simply won’t be able to survive further restrictions without immediate financial help.”

As the Covid-19 second wave crisis grows:

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick warned the virus was spreading “very fast” in cities in the North and Midlands, bracing the nation for more grim news as more data emerges on the full scale of the epidemic, ahead of new restrictions possibly being announced on Monday.

He said the Government did not have plans “today” to bring in regulations for people to wear masks at work but said it would be considered.

David Mellen, leader of Nottingham city council, urged people facing pub shutdowns from Monday not to flout Covid rules this weekend.

Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the Commons health committee, highlighted that for every Covid-linked death, one person had also died due to “interruption to NHS services”.

Three boroughs had more than 300 cases in the seven-day period, according to figures compiled by the PA news agency which are more up-to-date and higher than those used by the health authorities. They were Ealing with 320, Redbridge 317 and Barnet 314.

Sixteen areas have more than 200 cases including Brent, Enfield, Hackney (where the bulk of cases were recorded) and the City of London, Haringey, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Lambeth, Newham, Richmond, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Croydon.

Significant rises have been seen in Croydon, up to 241 cases compared with 124 in the previous week, Kingston, rising from 59 to 121, Camden from 73 to 138, Bromley from 90 to 179, Lewisham from 104 to 185, Wandsworth from 125 to 217, Westminster from 76 to 175, Lambeth from 132 to 232, Kensington and Chelsea from 37 to 112 and Harrow from 105 to 208.

London health experts and borough leaders were due to be updated this afternoon on the new infection figures.

The capital is said to have “turned a corner on testing” following the restoration of tests diverted to other parts of the country and the return of schools.