None of London’s 33 boroughs are in England’s top 100 Covid hotspots, statistics show amid calls for the capital to be released from lockdown early.
The highest infection rate is in Havering, east London, according to official statistics. It comes 106th in the league table of 317 authorities in England.
Some 252 cases were diagnosed per every 100,000 people in the seven days to November 4 – three times lower than that of Oldham in Greater Manchester, which is currently the country’s worst-hit area with around 779 new cases for every 100,000 residents in the same week.
London is reporting around 1,970 cases per day and the rate has stabilised in recent days but only includes those who have had a positive test, and not ‘silent carriers’ in the community
By comparison, the North West is recording around 3,900 per day. But this is a drop from 4,760 on October 20, yet another sign that Tier 3 restrictions, banning social mixing and pubs from opening, were helping the region beat the virus before a blanket lockdown came into force.
Only one place in England’s top 50 coronavirus hotspots is in the South, according to official statistics that add further scrutiny to the nationwide lockdown.
Bristol has the 37th highest coronavirus infection rate, which lays bare the country’s north-south Covid divide once more. Officials diagnosed 410 cases for every 100,000 people in Bristol in the week ending November 6.
England’s 50 coronavirus hotspots: None are in London, and only one is in the south – Bristol has the 37th highest coronavirus infection rate, laying bare the country’s north-south Covid divide
Government data shows the seven-day average in London is starting to stabilise. London is reporting around 1,970 cases per day, which only includes those with a positive test, and not ‘silent carriers’ in the community. Pictured: Number of people with at least one positive Covid-19 test result by specimen date. The most recent days’ data is likely to be revised. Cases are shown as very low in the first wave due to lower testing capacity
Number of people with a Covid-19 test result in rolling seven day periods. Cases are shown as very low in the first wave due to lower testing capacity
HOW BAD ARE INFECTION RATES IN LONDON?
The London boroughs are listed in order of ranking from highest infection rate (cases per 100,000 in the week to November 4) to lowest. Their place in the league of all England’s 317 authorities is also given:
106th: Havering, 252.4 cases per 100,000
111th: Redbridge, 230
128th: Ealing, 209.5
137th: Tower Hamlets, 197.4
138th: Hillingdon, 195.8
147th: Barking and Dagenham, 181.8
148th: Bexley, 181.6
150th: Newham, 179.8
155th: Hounslow, 173.5
161st: Waltham Forest, 163.9
176th: Westminster, 154.6
179th: Hammersmith and Fulham, 152.3
181st: Enfield, 152.2
182nd: Brent, 151.9
186th: Harrow, 150.5
197th: Lambeth, 141.7
199th: Sutton, 138.1
201st: Hackney and City of London, 137.5
206th: Merton, 133.6
207th: Haringey, 133.3
213th: Kingston upon Thames, 129.6
216th: Barnet, 128.3
217th: Wandsworth, 128
255th: Richmond upon Thames, 123.2
252nd: Greenwich, 121.6
235th: Croydon, 114.6
238th: Islington, 112.6
242nd: Kensington and Chelsea, 111.4
252nd: Camden, 104.8
256th: Southwark, 101
259th: Lewisham, 100.1
266th: Bromley, 98.1
Department of Health statistics show London’s boroughs have infection rates of between 98.1 cases per 100,000 in Bromley to 252.4 in Havering, giving an average of 150 cases per 100,000.
Redbridge (230), Ealing (209.5), Tower Hamlets (197.4) and Hillingdon (195.8) have reported the most cases comparative to population sizes in the most recent week of data.
There is no doubt the second wave has taken hold in the capital, but figures suggest it is not as significant in the capital as it is elsewhere in the country.
Other large cities continue to have case rates at heights of 451.7 in Manchester, 361.7 in Nottingham and 323.3 in Birmingham.
Mayor Sadiq Khan repeatedly called for more restrictions in the capital despite its infection rate being significantly lower than the coronavirus hotspots in the north.
It was moved into Tier 2 on October 16, alongside most of Essex, as to avoid later being slapped with the strictest restrictions. In Tier 2, people could meet in groups of six but only outdoors.
But a number of leaders in boroughs with lower infection rates, mostly in the south of the city, argued against the harsh measures.
While London initially took the brunt of the first Covid-19 wave in the spring, it was northern England that faced a bad second wave.
The possible reasons for the ‘north-south divide’ are far reaching, with some scientists arguing that London gained some level of immunity from the outbreak in the spring.
The notion of ‘herd immunity’ is fiercely contested, however, with a number of top officials saying there is no proof a population can be protected after a large proportion is infected.
But studies, including Government-funded ones, do show London has the highest level of antibodies – proteins in the blood which signal prior infection. Experts believe they will prevent people from suffering another bout of the illness, if they catch the coronavirus again within six months.
In the most recent Public Health England surveillance report, data showed that 26 boroughs of London’s 33 saw infection rates fall in the week to November 1. It dropped the most significantly in Kensington and Chelsea, by 28 per cent.
On top of this, numbers from the Department of Health’s own coronavirus dashboard suggest coronavirus hospital admissions in London appeared to peak seven days before lockdown.
The daily average of admissions dropped by eight per cent from 127.4 to 117.7 in the seven-day spell up to November 4.
Pressure to take the capital out of lockdown early has been building, with former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers calling it ‘the powerhouse of the UK economy’.
She told the Evening Standard: ‘We need to get it open again as soon as possible.
‘With cases coming down in many boroughs, there is no justification for extending lockdown a minute beyond its scheduled end date on December 2.
‘Ministers must also seriously consider whether London can be released from lockdown early if cases continue to fall.’
But the comments are bound to anger northern leaders such as Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry, who have previously hit out at the tiered system as being ‘London-centric’.
Liverpool’s Labour mayor Steve Rotheram also said ministers were treating the North like a ‘petri dish for experimentation’ while the South gets off lightly.
Mass coronavirus testing being used in Liverpool will be rolled out across more local authorities, the Health Secretary claimed today. They are primarily in the North West, North East and Midlands, with some around Essex and London
The Department of Health statistics show only one authority in the 50 worst-hit are in the south – Bristol.
Some 1,900 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the most recent week, giving Bristol an infection rate of 410 cases for every 100,000.
Around the same number of cases have been diagnosed at the University of Bristol alone since students returned in September.
MASS CORONAVIRUS TESTING TO BE ROLLED OUT ACROSS UK
Mass coronavirus testing being used in Liverpool will be rolled out across in nearly 70 more local authorities, the Health Secretary claimed today.
Matt Hancock revealed areas including Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and the West Midlands will receive the rapid Covid-19 tests. London, Birmingham, Manchester and Coventry are also among the cities to get a batch of tests.
At least 600,000 lateral flow tests will be sent out across the UK this week to kick-start the next stage of mass coronavirus testing, which ministers hope could finally send the virus packing.
The antigen tests can tell if a person is currently infected with coronavirus – even if they have no symptoms – and the technology can give results within an hour.
Every resident in Liverpool has been able to get tested for the disease since Friday, when the major army-backed scheme was first launched. The city, home to 500,000 people, was the first to be involved with No10’s ambitious ‘Operation Moonshot’ — a mission to screen millions of asymptomatic people every day.
Its website says 22 university students are being diagnosed every day, on average, which has halved since the end of October. The university is attended by around 28,000 students in total.
Bristol was officially under Tier 1 before the lockdown on November 5. But local authorities announced the city was moving into its own ‘Tier 1 plus’ on October 28, due to a spike in cases.
The southwestern city, which is home to 463,400 people, was under ‘Tier 1+’ restrictions before the second national lockdown came into force last week. It involved hiring eight ‘Covid marshals’ to encourage compliance with rules, and a drive to contain infections in older adults.
The approach was developed locally and the Department of Health said the use of a ‘plus’ level in tiers was not directed from the top.
The Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has previously said the city is likely to move to tier Tier 2 when the four week lockdown ends, meaning households will continue to be banned from mixing indoors.
Oldham currently has the highest infection rate per 100,000 people (779.4), followed by Blackburn with Darwen (726.1), Kingston upon Hull (630.9) and Wigan (626.8).
On the opposite end of the scale are Hastings (31.3), Rother (52) and Wealden (55.1) — all along the south coast — North Norfolk (46.7) and East Cambridgeshire (55.7).
After Bristol and South Gloucestershire (82nd place, with an infection rate of 301.3), a southern location of England does not appear in the list until Havering, London.
The figures cast more doubt on whether a nation-wide lockdown was needed to stem sky-high infection rates in the north.
But some academics argue that although infection rates in the south are not the highest, they are growing the quickest, and so intervention was needed quickly to prevent escalation.
Many northern authorities have actually seen cases drop in recent weeks, including Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester. Experts have insisted it is proof the Tier 2 and 3 restrictions, predominantly introduced in the north, were working before the system was binned for a blanket shutdown.
Hospital admissions appear to have peaked in the North West ten days before lockdown was imposed – another sign that Tier 3 restriction were helping to beat the virus.
Daily average Covid-19 admissions hit 308.4 on October 26 but have been dropping every day since. They had fallen 13 per cent to 268.4 by November 4, the day before England’s second lockdown was introduced. No fresher data has yet been released.
Government data shows the seven-day average in Bristol has stabilised from the last week of October onwards. Some 280 people are being diagnosed per day, on average. Pictured: Number of people with at least one positive Covid-19 test result by specimen date. The most recent days’ data is likely to be revised. Cases are shown as very low in the first wave due to lower testing capacity
Number of people with a Covid-19 test result in rolling seven day periods. The data shows a spike from late September onwards, with appears to have plateaued. Cases are shown as very low in the first wave due to lower testing capacity
Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, told MailOnline last week that data suggested the tiered system, particularly in the north, was working.
But rises in the south suggested further action was needed, even if the infection rates were lower, because they were increasing quicker.
Around 10million people were living under the toughest Tier 3 bracket before England’s second lockdown was imposed — but all of the affected areas were in the north and the Midlands.
Among the set of Tier 3 measures were a ban on people mixing with friends and family indoors or in a private garden, and a closure of hospitality venues unless they served a substantial meal.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK will return to the three-tier system after December 2 with a preferred localised approach to tackling outbreaks.
But Professor Chris Whitty said the strategy may need to be revamped, suggesting yet another system would need to be designed to keep cases from rising again.
Amid data that shows the country was beginning to fight back the coronavirus, Boris Johnson is said to be furious he was ‘bounced’ into imposing a second national lockdown on October 31, after repeatedly vowing to stick to a localised approach.
A Cabinet ally said this week the Prime Minister reluctantly signed off a new lockdown in England after being warned by Government scientists that deaths could rise to 4,000 a day – four times the peak seen in April.
The decision was rushed out with minimal Cabinet consultation after news of the warning, and the PM’s reaction to it, was leaked to news organisations, including the Daily Mail.
The 4,000-a-day figure has since been widely discredited and Government scientists have been forced to correct other dire warnings used to inform the lockdown decision.
Mr Johnson is said to be angry that the stats are ‘crumbling’, according to the Government minister. The source told the Daily Mail: ‘I think he is concerned that he may have been bounced into it.’
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