Warnings on lockdown easing in Merton as cases surge

By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter

Warnings that there is the risk of another surge of coronavirus have been made by the director of public health at Merton Council.

Between April 15-21 there were 54 new Covid cases in the borough, a rate of 25 cases per 100,000 – this is up from 21 per 100,000 the previous week.

At the moment, this is the second highest rate in South West London after Wandsworth.

Director of public health Dagmar Zeuner said: “The numbers are not high. nothing compared to where we were, but it is not low. It is a challenge, particularly with society reopening.

“The risk of another potential surge hasn’t gone away. The other risk lurking around is of variants of concern.”

In nearby Wandsworth and Lambeth there were outbreaks of the South African variant recently.

In total 481 people have died from Covid in Merton since the beginning of the pandemic and there were two deaths for the week ending April 9.

Dr Zeuner said that the number of coronavirus patients in South London hospitals is now very low.

There are currently just eight patients being treated at Epsom and St Helier hospitals and none on ventilation.

“Good news is that admissions to hospital have really tailed off, what is significant though is the NHS has a lot of catch up to do, so any knock back from an increase in Covid hospital admissions is really not what we want or can afford,” said Dr Zeuner.

“There is a particular caution around when we judge the impact on the NHS it is not purely ‘could they cope with Covid?’ it is ‘could they cope with Covid and the backlog?’”

 


 

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