Coronavirus is spreading at higher rates in London boroughs north of the Thames, data shows

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London falls under the category of level 2 coronavirus restrictions following an outbreak of Covid-19 infections in the capital.

However, the latest data from Public Health England (PHE) indicates that the virus is spreading at a faster rate in the boroughs north of the Thames.

Eight districts have now passed the key threshold of 100 new cases per week per 100,000 inhabitants.

With the exception of Richmond of Thames, nine of the 10 boroughs with the highest coronavirus rates are north of the Thames.

Ealing has the highest Covid-19 rate in London with 136.9 cases per 100,000 in the week of October 9, with 468 cases, according to an analysis by the Evening Standard.

Richmond has a rate of 133.3 (264 cases), Hackney and the City of London area 124.8 (363 cases with the vast majority in Hackney), Redbridge 124.5 (380 cases), Harrow 114.7 ( 288 cases), Haringey 109.4 (294), Barnet 106.3 (421) and Hammersmith & Fulham 101 (187).

The Evening Standard spoke to a PHE London official who pointed out that while there isn’t a single explanation as to why some boroughs are more affected than others, there is a noticeable difference in how the virus is spreading in north-east London compared to south. .

They explained that transmission tends to be linked to household mixing, and a larger household mixed with another household is likely to contribute more to the spread of the coronavirus.

This suggests that the density of the population in each London borough could have an impact on the speed at which the virus spreads.

Two weeks before London moved to the ‘high risk’ category, Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs advised residents to avoid mingling with other households ‘unless absolutely necessary’ .

A woman rides a bicycle in Oxford Street, London (REUTERS)

Mr Biggs told residents it was ‘a matter of life and death’, with the deputy mayor of the borough, Rachel Blake, noting that the mixing of households was a key factor contributing to the spread of the virus. .

Speaking at the time of Mr Biggs ‘announcement, Ms Blake told The Standard:’ We have the fourth highest infection rate in London. Our data shows that home visits are a high transmission area and that is why we ask people to avoid visiting other households. ”

The head of the PES added that another factor could be linked to the mixture of the two age categories of 20 to 29 years and 17 to 19 years.

The prime minister expressed concerns in September that young people were contributing to the spread of the virus by not taking social distance and organizing large rallies.

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A spokesperson for Mr Johnson’s officials said “young people in particular” needed to ensure there was “no complacency” when it came to following instructions on how to prevent the virus from spreading.

However, while coronavirus rates are currently higher in boroughs north of the Thames, the PHE official has warned that boroughs south of the capital are showing increasingly high rates of Covid-19 and could catch up the northern districts.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for PHE, told The Standard: ‘All London boroughs have increasing rates of Covid-19 and these vary across the city, with the boroughs north of the river being the most affected so far, but the boroughs of south London are now the most affected. to the top.

A waiter works at a restaurant / near Oxford Street (Getty Images)

“Household diversity has been a key transmission factor throughout the city, especially in areas where households have more people living under one roof. Another factor in London’s infection rate has been transmission among young adults, especially when they socialize in neighborhoods. , homes and social places across the city.

“So it’s extremely important that we stick to the new restrictions to help slow the spread of the disease, both within and between boroughs. ”

It comes as tighter Level 2 restrictions come into effect in London from midnight today. Under the stricter measures, Londoners are prohibited from mixing between households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

Unveiling the new crackdown, Matt Hancock said infection rates in London were on a “steep upward path” and confirmed cases were doubling every 10 days.

The Health Secretary told MPs: “The seven-day average case rate today stands at 97, a sharp increase. We know from the first peak infection can spread quickly and put enormous pressure on the NHS, so we must act now to avoid the need for harsher measures later.

“So working closely with the mayor, with the leadership of the multi-stakeholder council, with local public health officials and the national team, we have agreed together that London needs to move up to the high local Covid alert level. “

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