By Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter
Infection rates in Hammersmith and Fulham have doubled in a week and have far exceeded numbers seen during the November national lockdown.
It comes after the Prime Minister’s warning that a new, far more infectious strain of Covid-19 was spreading through London and the south-east of England.
The most up-to-date figures from the Government show that, in the seven days before Wednesday, December 16, there were 694 new confirmed cases in the borough.
This gave Hammersmith and Fulham an infection rate of 375 positive cases per 100,000 people.
By comparison, the infection rate at the start of November – when the national lockdown began – was 210 per 100,000.
On Friday, Hammersmith and Fulham council wrote in its weekly newsletter that rates had “doubled” in a week.
Other London boroughs, particularly in the east, are seeing far more cases. Newham’s latest infection rate is 687 per 100,000. Havering’s current rate is 1,036 per 100,000.
Public Health England believes more than 60 per cent of the new cases in London are the new strain of coronavirus, which is suspected to be 70 per cent more infectious than the previous strain of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, NHS chiefs at Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals are urging Londoners to stay at home over Christmas.
Professor Julian Redhead, medical director at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Rates of coronavirus are rising rapidly in north-west London. Our intensive care units are close to capacity, more people are getting infected and unfortunately, some are losing their lives. People must strictly follow the national restrictions and public health guidance in place under Tier 4 and stay at home.
“The increase in coronavirus rates across North-west London boroughs over the last seven days is a worrying picture. We would advise people to do everything they can to stay safe and protect their loved ones this Christmas.”
Hammersmith and Fulham council leader Stephen Cowan said: “The Covid figures are shocking. Even while so many of us are preparing to celebrate Christmas, we need to be even more vigilant for just a while longer to protect ourselves and our neighbours.
“That means restricting journeys and limiting social contact to our immediate household members. I am so glad that hundreds of our neighbours got the vaccine this week. It is the safe and proven route out of the pandemic and back to normality. Meanwhile let’s be patient and stick to the guidance.”
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