London coronavirus cases: Infections falling across 21 boroughs, new figures show

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ovid-19 cases are falling in 21 London borough areas, according to official figures today which raised hopes that the city can put the virus on the retreat.

The biggest fall is in Kingston which saw 262 confirmed cases in the week to October 31, down 29.4 per cent (or 109 fewer cases), with a rolling seven-day rate of 147.6 per 100,000 people.

Kensington & Chelsea is down to 187 cases a week, a fall of 24.6 per cent (61 cases), and a rate of 119.8, followed by Bromley on 327, a drop of 22.1 per cent (93 cases), with a rate of  98.4, and Southwark on 361, down 21.9 per cent (101 cases), with a rate of 113.2.

Some of the decline in cases is down to less people getting tested during half-term, according to health officials. Despite a lag in reporting cases, test positivity rates are still edging up, and there were also a record 2,669 cases in London on Monday November 2. 

But health chiefs are optimistic that there is a real change in the trajectory of the disease which had been growing for weeks but is now showing a slight dip or plateau in confirmed cases in older age groups, and a sharper fall in 20 to 29-year-olds.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London director for Public Health England, told BBC Radio London: “We are seeing some really positive signals.

“It’s perhaps too early to make it a conclusive comment but in nearly two thirds of our boroughs we are seeing declines in the case rates…numbers of infections are beginning to go down.”

He stressed the falls were around two-and-a-half weeks after the city was put into Tier 2 and that he would “fully anticipate that the new measures (lockdown) would help to push those numbers and rates down”.

In Haringey, the number of confirmed cases was 364 in the week to October 31, down 18.9 per cent (85 cases), with a rate of  135.5, in Camden 281, down 18.6 per cent (64 cases), with a rate of 104.1, in Hackney and City of London 447, down 18.4 (101 cases), with a rate of 153.7, in Ealing 650, down 17.4 per cent (137 cases), with a rate of 190.2, in Wandsworth 440, down 16.3 per cent (86 cases), with a rate of 133.5, in Hammersmith & Fulham 344, down 15.9 per cent (65 cases), with a rate of  rate 185.8, and in Barnet 515, down 13.9 per cent (83 cases), with a rate of  130.1.

In Richmond, weekly cases have fallen to 281, down 13.5 per cent (44), with a rate of 141.9, in Islington to 308, down 13.2 per cent (47 cases), with a rate of 127, in Sutton to 227, down 12.7 per cent (33 cases), with a rate of 110, in Enfield to 472, down 12.1 per cent (65 cases), with a rate of 141.4, in Hounslow to 477, down 8.4 per cent (44 cases), and a rate of 175.7, in

Lewisham to 298, down 7.5 per cent (24 cases), to a rate of  97.4, in Brent 408, down 3.5 per cent (15 cases), with a rate of  123.7, in Tower Hamlets to 564, down 1.4 per cent (eight cases), with a rate of 173.7, in Barking and Dagenham to 329, down 1.8 per cent (six cases), with a rate of 154.5, and in Harrow to 373, down 1.3 per cent (five cases), with a rate of 148.5.

With scenes of social distancing breaches on the eve of the national lockdown introduced yesterday, Harrow East Tory MP Bob Blackman said: “No-one wants this partial lockdown. The faster we get out of it the better but that will require people to behave.”

King’s College London Professor Tim Spector, whose team’s ZOE COVID Symptom Study app is used by millions of people, said the data suggested the R rate of transmission in the capital is now one, meaning the disease has plateaued.

He stressed that it was too early to tell whether cases would now fall or rise.

But he added: “Overall the numbers are still too high with more than 5,000 new cases a day. With such high levels of Covid-19 in the population we all need to be doing what we can to bring these numbers down.

“It’s vital that we all pull together so that we can get out of this latest lockdown as soon as possible. Let’s look after all Londoners by respecting the restrictions and staying at home wherever possible. If we can get the numbers low enough then we might all be able to enjoy something that will resemble a normal Christmas.”

Confirmed cases are still rising in 11 boroughs, and overall cases are estimated to be two to three times higher, significantly due to the number of asymptomatic people with coronavirus.

In Merton weekly cases have risen to 296, up one per cent (three cases), with a rate of 143.3, in Redbridge to 596, up 2.6 per cent (15 cases), with a rate of 195.3, in Hillingdon to 563, up 3.1 per cent (17 cases), with a rate of 183.5, in Westminster to 414, up 4.3 per cent (17 cases), with a rate of 158.4, in Croydon to 470, up 4.4 per cent (20 cases), with a rate of 121.5, and in Newham to 595, up 4.4 per cent (25 cases), with a rate of 168.5.

In Lambeth, it has gone up to 499, a rise of 4.6 per cent (22 cases), with a rate of 153.1, in Waltham Forest to 450, up 5.9 per cent (25 cases), with a rate of 162.5, in Greenwich to 348, up 7.4 per cent (24 cases), with a rate of 120.9, in Bexley to 360, up 8.4 per cent (28 cases), with a rate of 145, and in Havering to 546, up 27.6 per cent (118 cases), with a rate of 210.4.

Two boroughs, Bromley and Lewisham, have now fallen below a rate of 100 new cases a week per 100,000 population, which was one of the trigger thresholds used to move London from Tier 1 to tighter Tier 2 restrictions.

The figures in some boroughs, particularly wealthy ones, have been skewed by students from these areas testing positive at universities in other parts of the country but being counted as local cases due to a reporting glitch.

Evening Standard – London