Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

Leafy Richmond is London's new coronavirus hotspot as cases rise across the capital

RICHMOND is London's new coronavirus hotspot – as cases rise across the city.

The West London borough now has the highest infection rate in the capital, with 112.1 new cases per 100,00 people.

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However, this is still much lower than the high-risk areas in Northern England under more severe restrictions.

Manchester has an average of 543 cases per 100,000 people, and Nottingham has seen 496.8 infections per 100,000 residents.

Almost all of the London boroughs have seen coronavirus cases rise in recent weeks, with Richmond now ahead of Redbridge as the latest hotspot.

Now Richmond upon Thames has the highest infection rate in the capital, at 112.1 new cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 5, with the reason behind the latest rise in the borough unclear.

Richmond Park MP, Sarah Olney, said: “We don't actually know what is behind this and we don't know if there is a specific reason.

“But I want to reinforce to local people to keep following the guidelines – hands, face, space – maintain social distancing, wash your hands, wear a mask when you're in enclosed spaces or public transport.

“I think if everybody is aware of the guidance and does their very best in all circumstances to try and abide by it then I'm hopeful that we won't see any further spikes."

Cases have risen to 222 in the wealthy borough, up from 89 in the previous week.


It is currently in the high-risk category, under the tier system Boris Johnson is set to unveil next week to manage coronavirus outbreaks.

The PM's new system plans to tackle high risk areas with rising infections, while allowing lower risk spots to carry on mixing households and going to the pub.

It comes as 10million Brits in the North of England face a looming lockdown on Monday, with pubs and restaurants ordered to shut.

Tier 1 will see current social distancing measures, the “rule of six” and a pub curfew of 10pm enforced.

Areas in Tier 2 will have the same restrictions plus a ban on households mixing.

And in Tier 3, people will not be able to mix households and pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses will be shut.

At the London Assembly on Wednesday, mayor Sadiq Khan said Redbridge, Newham and Tower Hamlets were areas of concern in the capital, and he also noted the rising rates in Richmond.

However, while infection rates are rising throughout the country, death rates and hospitalisation from the virus still remain relatively low.

At the peak of the pandemic on April 8, 1,445 deaths were reported, a stark contrast to the levels being seen now.

Professor John Edmunds, who sits on the Government's SAGE committee, said it would not be long until the health service would be stretched in the North of England.

He denied scientists were "holding a gun to the PM's head" on the restrictions.

"It's the virus holding a gun to the PM's head," he said. 

The current infection rate is still believed to be smaller, however, than at the peak of the pandemic, when it is likely 100,000 cases were being reported every day through March and April.



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