London put on national coronavirus watch list

London has been placed on the national Covid “watch list” as an area of high concern.

It comes after 620 new cases were confirmed in the capital in the last 24 hours – more than double the number at the start of the week.

Thirty-five more patients with Covid were admitted to the capital in the last 24-hour period, taking the total to 212, of which 40 are on ventilators.

A formal confirmation is due this afternoon from Public Health England but the announcement was made this morning by London Councils, which represents the 33 boroughs.

Council leaders said the decision to place the capital on the watch list – alongside places such as Bolton and Blackburn – was a “stark reminder” of the need for “all Londoners to pull together and take action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe, and to ensure that London’s economy is protected”.

Harrow Times: A formal confirmation is due this afternoonA formal confirmation is due this afternoon

However the addition of the capital to the watch list was not being immediately followed with local lockdown restrictions seen elsewhere in high incidence areas.

This saw the weekly covid infection rates last week indicate a fall in 27 boroughs – “rogue” figures that Public Health England had to dismiss.

The latest borough by borough rates and the national and regional R figures – including for London – are due to be published this afternoon.

London Councils said that the boroughs were working with their communities, business and the police to engage, educate, explain, and if necessary enforce the new restrictions and regulations.

It called on the Government to ensure that it funds the work so resources do not need to be drawn from other council services. London councils pleaded with Londoners to follow the national restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

The watchlist is determined by Health Secretary Matt Hancock after studying epidemiological advice from the chief medical officer, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England.

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The watchlist indicates the local authorities with the highest weekly incidence rate and its trend, combined with a range of other indicators including the test positivity rate, an assessment of the local response and plans, and the trend of other metrics such as healthcare activity and mortality.

Sian Berry, Green Party co-leader and London Mayor candidate, said: “We have lacked test information in London for weeks, which has caused huge worry for all of us in local and regional government. The news today that Public Health England has added London to its list of areas of concern, using estimates from other data, shows what a crucial time this is, and how all our actions can make a difference.

“The 10pm closing time for bars and restaurants has already led to crowded scenes on public transport that worry me greatly. My strong advice to Londoners today is to avoid going out in the next few days unless you have to, and find other ways to see friends and family.

“Like you, I am sad, tired and weary after six months of a gruelling national crisis, but we’re in a dangerous moment, lacking data and tests, and we must work together as a city amid rising signs of infection.”

Harrow Times | Local News