Coronavirus rates increase in South-west London again

By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

Coronavirus rates have risen again in South-west London over the past week.

The latest statistics released by Public Health England for the week September 7 to 13 show the rate in Wandsworth has jumped to 23 cases per 100,000 people, from 16.5 the previous week.

Cases in Richmond have risen to 17.3 per 100,000 from 15.7 the week before, and Kingston has also seen a small increase, from 13.7 to 14.3 cases per 100,000 people.

The London boroughs with the highest rates are Redbridge with 34.2 cases per 100,000 and Hounslow with 32.5 cases per 100,000.

Boroughs with between 20-25 cases per 100,000 people are deemed ‘areas of national concern.’

This means that they will see increased access to mobile testing units and wider testing and screening options, as well as targeted campaigns – which appears to now be happening in Wandsworth.

Wandsworth council has announced additional dates added to its mobile testing unit facility.

These will now be available in Wandsworth on September today as well as on September 24, 26, 27 and 30.

October dates will be confirmed shortly, but testing is expected to be available every other day.

Residents must book their sessions in advance.

These testing units are mainly drive through, but there is the option to request to go by foot.

A number of walk-through Local Test Sites (LTS) are also being set up and the council is currently considering where to site them.

Once again the majority of cases have been among 18 to 39-year-olds (especially 20 to 29), predominantly from a white ethnic background.

There have been concerns this week about difficulties getting tested in the capital, with some people saying they were advised to say they lived in Scotland to secure a test at Twickenham Stadium.

Daniel Wright, from Kingston, said last Sunday evening he tried to book a test online, but it didn’t work.

He said: “We were offered a slot, got to the confirmation page, clicked confirm and it went back to the home page. 90 minutes on hold later we were told by the helpline that this meant we didn’t have the test as we had no QR code.

“So instead we used an Inverness postcode to book a test up there, then took the QR code to Twickenham where they did the test no problem. The whole place was empty.”

The government has since said people should not “game the system” and is addressing the issue with postcodes.

However, it warned that problems with testing and lab capacity might last a few weeks.

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