Warning issued over South London coronavirus rates

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

A warning has been given that it is “only a matter of time” before coronavirus cases in South London match higher rates seen for a few weeks in the west and east of the capital.

A map of cases across the city put together by Merton council showed that boroughs south of the river currently have lower virus than those in north London.

But Dagmar Zeuner, director of public health at Merton council, warned against complacency and said that testing data could also be unreliable.

She told a meeting on Tuesday that with lower than ideal levels of testing, it cannot be known how many positive cases there really are.

The latest figures released yesterday showed that the weekly case rate in Merton was 19.4 per 100,000 for the week up to September 27.

The rates per 100,000 are still higher north of the river than they are in South London.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Dr Zeuner said: “The whole of South London is slightly better than in north London – particularly in north-east London.

“Our colleagues in Redbridge and Newham have seen very steep increases. We think it is only a matter of time before we are in a similar situation.”

And while cases in Merton remain relatively low in comparison to other areas, they are still increasing.

Dr Zeuner also said that it is important to take into account that cases in London can cross borders easily.

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