London now has highest Covid-19 infection rate in England, ONS announces

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London is now home to the highest coronavirus infection rates in England, according to the latest data.

The capital had an infection rate of 191.8 per 100,000 people for the week of 30 November to 6 December, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Covid-19 cases have increased in 24 of the city's 32 boroughs.

It comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned the city may have to move to Tier 3 amid the surge in cases.

Essex, where infection rates have also surged since lockdown, could also be reassigned to Tier 3.

The first review of the tier system, which placed the capital into Tier 2 after England came out of lockdown, is due on December 16.

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Meanwhile cases in the rest of the country seem to be levelling out, with infection rates falling considerably in the West Midlands.

The figure is now 158.4 per 100,000, down from 196.8 the previous week.

Local authorities in Manchester, Hull and the North East are also hoping to be moved down to Tier 2 after weeks in the toughest category, after their infection rates decreased as well.

Some areas have dropped more than others, and it is not clear how much rates must fall by for the Government to move areas down a tier.

Since the Government has revamped the system, regions have been put in tiers together, rather than being divided by town or council area.

Earlier this week health experts warned London needs to be moved into Tier 3 to minimise a surge in infections — and deaths — after household mixing rules are relaxed over Christmas.

Professor John Ashton, a former regional director of public health for North West England, told the Guardian:

"[The government] needs to decide in the next 48 hours whether to move London into Tier 3 otherwise they really risk a terrible situation for London, with deaths going up during the Christmas period.

"They might have to go to complete lockdown."

Professor Kevin Fenton, the London regional director for Public Health England, said he was also concerned by the figures.

"The latest data shows case rates are on the increase again in most London boroughs, including in the at-risk over 60s," he said.

"We'll need to work together to prevent a big surge in cases in London ahead of the festive period so we must all do our bit and limit the spread over the coming days and weeks."

  • Coronavirus
  • London

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