London is ‘at risk’ of being plunged into Tier Three because the drop in its coronavirus case numbers appears to be stalling, its head of public health has claimed.
Professor Kevin Fenton sought to pour cold water on the capital’s re-surging economy and public life as he warned the ‘promising reductions’ they were seeing have ‘shown signs of slowing’ in recent days.
Department of Health data shows the capital’s outbreak, as a whole, has stabilised over the past fortnight.
But Public Health England data shows that in the seven-day spell to November 29, the latest for which data is available, 27 out of the capital’s 32 boroughs recorded falls in their infection rates.
Only Camden, Lewisham, Haringey, Bromley and Kingston-upon-Thames saw a spike in cases in the fourth week of lockdown, according to the Government agency’s report.
And the latest numbers from the NHS reveal daily Covid hospitalisations remain low at just 145 a day, on average. For comparison, they topped 800 during the peak of the first wave in April.
It comes as data today bolstered claims that millions living under the harshest restrictions could be downgraded to Tier Two because infections have fallen in every local authority in the North.
But experts warned that ministers were being ‘cautious’ in the run-up to the Christmas break, when it is feared a relaxation could cause a ‘bump’ in infections.
The tiers are determined by the total number of infections alongside percentage change, the number of infections in the over 60s and pressure on the NHS.
Pictured above is the percentage change in infections in London for the week ending November 29, according to Public Health England. It is the latest for which data is available
London’s outbreak of coronavirus appears to be focussed in the east of the city. The above map is cases in the capital up to November 28, from the Government’s dashboard
The majority of cases in the capital are in 16 to 29 year olds – who are at a far lower risk of becoming hospitalised if they catch the virus
Raising the prospect of Londoners again being banned from pubs and restaurants, Professor Fenton today ordered them to ‘stick to the rules’ and keep to social distancing and self-isolation barely three days after lockdown was lifted.
‘The promising reductions we had begun to see with the recent national restrictions across the capital have shown signs of slowing in recent days – a stark reminder of just how delicate our situation is,’ he told the Standard.
Professor Kevin Fenton warned the capital could end up in Tier Three
‘If we want to avoid being placed in Tier Three, it is vital we keep transmission down.’
He added: ‘As we make plans to go out this weekend, whether it’s shopping, eating our or meeting with friends outside, it is vital we remain vigilant and keep in mind that the virus is still present.’
Professor Lawrence Young, a diseases expert at Warwick Medical School, told MailOnline it was a ‘surprising statement’ from the city’s director of Public Health.
‘We’re in a very hyper-cautious state at the moment,’ he said. ‘I think what’s happening here is we are being very very cautious and trying to take no risks really in the run up to Christmas.
‘January and February is a time when the NHS is under a lot of strain. This is another thing everybody is very wary of.’
The Department of Health’s data reveals the capitals cases have stabilised since November 23 after falling by 21 per cent from a peak of 2,559.6 a day on November 12 to 1,977.9 on November 23.
They have stayed at this level for three days, with 2,013 being the average for November 26, the latest date for which data is available.
The number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital in the capital has remained stable, and is no where near the levels seen during the first wave
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital in the capital also remains below the first wave
And the number of Covid-19 patients on mechanical ventilators in the capital remains below the first waves levels