Professor Kevin Fenton, the capital’s public health chief, warned of the “worrying trajectory” of the disease and appealed to Londoners to stick to social distancing rules.
The plea came as grim figures showed:
- 4,144 new confirmed cases announced in a single day for London, nearly a fifth of the total for the UK
- Four boroughs, Harrow, Waltham Forest, Enfield and Haringey, being hit by rises of more than 50 per cent in cases in the week to December 5
- The disease sweeping across the capital, with some previously low infection areas in central London having significant increases, including Southwark, Islington and Lambeth
- The seven-day infection rate per 100,000 people breaching the 300 new cases a week mark in four boroughs, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest and Redbridge
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed that the disease was rising fastest among secondary school age children 11-18 years old, while the rate among adults in London “is broadly flat”. He has announced testing to be carried out in secondary schools in seven boroughs
- There were 92 Covid incidents linked to schools in London in the week to December 6, ranging from outbreaks, to single cases or people working at the school calling in after testing positive but not having been on site for a few days
- At least a couple of MPs are privately calling for schools in hotspot areas to be closed immediately
- Covid admissions to London hospitals rose to 1,178 in a week, with 210 on Monday, the highest figure since May 6, though numbers are still far below the first wave peak
- The capital’s seven-day rate has risen to 191.2 new cases per 100,000, close to an earlier second wave peak of 200 in mid-November, and expected to increase further in coming days
- Doctors have got far better at treating Covid and the number of Londoners on ventilators in hospitals is falling slightly, 241 on the 9th, though it is expected to rise in coming weeks after the surge in cases
Professor Fenton told The Standard: “London now has the highest case rates of any region across the country and infections are increasing by the day. This is now a real test of our resilience as a city.
“We know that as cases go up, hospitalisations and deaths follow. The current trajectory is a worrying one, but we can change its course if every one of us does our bit.
“Our actions today will directly affect the health and wellbeing of ourselves and those close to us throughout the holidays, as well as influencing the burdens placed on our NHS over the festive period and New Year.”
Cabinet minister Michael Gove suggested earlier this week that the Government wanted to keep areas in their current tier or put them in a lower one, if possible.
He also stressed that ministers and health chiefs would take into account how well hospitals were coping, and those in London are under far less pressure from Covid patients than in the first wave and compared to some other regions.
However, since his comments the Covid crisis in London has worsened.
Ministers, though, are fully aware of the impact of putting London, the country’s economic powerhouse, into Tier 3.
Prof Fenton added: “The message is simple – stick to the rules. We know that more contact leads to more cases and around one in three people with the virus are transmitting it without realising.
“Let’s wash our hands diligently, wear our masks proudly and keep our distance from others respectfully. It is up to us what impact we choose to have.”
The full official figures show that Harrow saw 549 cases, up 202 (58.2 per cent) with a rate of 218.6 per 100,000 people in the week to December 5, Waltham Forest 891 cases, up 316 (55 per cent) with a rate of 321.7, Enfield 799 cases, up 282 (54.5 per cent) with a rate of 239.4, Haringey 557 cases, up 195 (53.9 per cent) with a rate of 207.3, Sutton 377 cases, up 114 (43.3 per cent) with a rate of 182.7, Greenwich 574 cases, up 148 (34.7 per cent) with a rate of 199.3, Southwark 425 cases, up 109 (34.5 per cent) with a rate of 133.3, Havering 985 cases, up 235 (31.3 per cent) with a rate of 379.5, Hackney & City of London 546 cases, up 130 (31.2 per cent) with a rate of 187.7,
Bromley 636 cases, up 146 (29.8 per cent) with a rate of 191.4, Croydon 670 cases, up 154 (29.8 per cent) with a rate of 173.3, Islington 324 cases, up 73 (29.1 per cent) with a rate of 133.6, and Lambeth 433 cases, up 92 (27 per cent) with a rate of 132.8.
In Wandsworth, there were 428 cases, up 90 (26.6 per cent) with a rate of 129.8, Barking and Dagenham 671 cases, up 124 (22.7 per cent) with a rate of 315.2, Kingston 394 cases, up 72 (22.4 per cent) with a rate of 222, Tower Hamlets 786 cases, up 134 (20.6 per cent) with a rate of 242, Bexley 649 cases, up 109 (20.2 per cent) with a rate of 261.4, Lewisham 389 cases, up 62 (19 per cent) with a rate of 127.2, Barnet 698 cases, up 110 (18.7 per cent) with a rate of 176.3, Hillingdon 575 cases, up 86 (17.6 per cent) with a rate of 187.4, Newham 938 cases, up 99 (11.8 per cent) with a rate of 265.6, Merton 383 cases, up 37 (10.7 per cent) with a rate of 185.4, and Kensington & Chelsea 183 cases, up 17 (10.2 per cent) with a rate of 117.2.
Richmond saw no change with 177 cases and a rate of 89.4.
Hounslow saw 417 cases, down 41 (9 per cent) with a rate of 153.6, Westminster 233 cases, down 17 (6.8 per cent) with a rate of 89.2, Brent 503 cases, down 31 (5.8 per cent) with a rate of 152.5, Ealing 575 cases, down 32 (5.3 per cent) with a rate of 168.2, Redbridge 917 cases, down 18 (1.9 per cent) with a rate of 300.4, Camden 262 cases, down five (1.9 per cent) with a rate of 97, and Hammersmith & Fulham 187 cases, down two (1.1 per cent) with a rate of 101.