Local Lockdown Unlikely At This Stage

Reports identifying Hounslow and Ealing boroughs as hot spots misleading


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July 2, 2020

Health officials have dismissed concerns about a possible local lockdown in Hounslow and Ealing boroughs saying that the rate of infection in London remains ‘low and steady’.

They were identified in a national newspaper report as two of 36 areas of the country which may need to have restrictions introduced due to a rising number of cases. However, the London boroughs included in the list had seen a rise from a low base and the number of positive tests remains low compared to other parts of the country and significantly below that which required Leicester to go into lockdown.

In a seven day period the weekly figures for infections per 100,000 rose from 9 to 15 in Hounslow, 5 to 14 in Ealing and 7 to 18 in Hammersmith & Fulham. Richmond borough was included on the list as seeing an increase because there were zero new cases from June 13 to 16, but this had risen to two new cases between June 20 and 26.

Councillor Candice Atterton, the Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care and Health said, "Contrary to irresponsible reports in the media, there has been no significant spike in cases of coronavirus in Hounslow which warrants cause for serious concern or consideration of a local lockdown.

“As lockdown measures continue to be relaxed, and test and trace systems improve, it is very likely that many parts of the country will see increases in cases over the coming weeks. Small fluctuations day by day in different areas are to be expected. The overall levels of coronavirus in London remains low and steady.

“Like all London boroughs, we are working closely with Public Health England with access to the latest data to monitor new cases. We have a robust outbreak control plan in place and are able to quickly identify any need for immediate intervention.”

Cllr Piers Allen chair of the Richmond health and wellbeing board, said that newspaper reports containing lists of authorities at risk of going into lockdown was “grossly irresponsible”.

Overall there have been 789 cases in Hounslow since the outbreak according to the latest Government data giving an infection rate of 291.4 per 100,000 population. In Ealing there have been 1.243 cases with an infection rate of 363.5.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health England said that the number of new cases of coronavirus in the capital is “under close, active surveillance” and that “small fluctuations day by day are to be expected.”

He added, “The increases in some boroughs that have been reported are mainly sporadic and are being uncovered as we scale up testing and contact tracing activity across the city.

“Importantly, the overall levels of coronavirus in London remain low and steady. We’re working closely with all local authorities to prepare for and manage any potential local clusters and outbreaks and our epidemiological analysis will play an important role identifying if there is a significant sustained increase in the community,” he added.

“As we carefully emerge from lockdown, it is important now more than ever that Londoners continue to follow government advice on social distancing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings, and practicing good hand hygiene, in order to keep the number of new cases in London on its way down. If you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change to your sense of smell or taste, stay at home and arrange a test immediately.”

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