Coronavirus cases in South-west London are DOWN on previous week – but experts urge caution

By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

Cases of coronavirus in South-west London have fallen compared to the previous week.

The latest coronavirus rates for South-west London have been published by Public Health England and show declines in cases per 100,000 people in Wandsworth, Richmond and Kingston.

However experts have urged caution over the figures.

This week official figures in Wandsworth showed a rate of 17.8 cases per 100,000 people, down from 23 last week, Richmond fell from 17.3 to 11.2 cases per 100,000, while in Kingston cases also fell from 14.2 to 13.7 cases per 100,000.

But Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England, warned the fact London has been placed on the watch list as an area of concern “is a reflection of the rising number of cases of Covid-19 being shown by a range of indicators”.

He explained: “We are currently seeing much more widespread transmission in the city and being recognised as an area of concern is an important step in our efforts to control the virus.

“We are continuing to keep a watching brief on the situation and this new status will enable us to respond more rapidly and with additional measures should cases rise further and faster.”

An ‘area of concern’ status means additional community and care home testing and increased community engagement with high risk groups.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has criticised the lack of testing capacity in the capital in recent weeks.

He said: “London is at a very worrying tipping point right now. We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions and patients in ICU.

“The near collapse of test and trace and the resurgence of the virus means new measures to slow its spread were absolutely necessary.

“Testing capacity was diverted away from London in the last two weeks to other national hot spots, and weekly testing numbers are now down 43 per cent in the capital since mid-August.

“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and it is why London has been added to the Government’s coronavirus watch list as an area of concern. “Ministers simply have to get a grip.”

London Councils added: “It is a stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe, and to ensure that London’s economy is protected.”

City Hall confirmed yesterday that 25 people died in London hospitals this week having tested positive for coronavirus.

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