London's public health chief pleads with young people to protect grandparents as cases in capital soar

Ross Lydall
·3-min read

The capital’s public health chief today pleaded with young Londoners not to risk passing coronavirus to grandparents or pregnant friends as more than 1,400 cases were detected in a week.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England, said there was “no room for complacency” and urged Londoners to “pull together” and observe rules on social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing.

He said they must also self-isolate if found to have been in contact with someone who tested positive.

It came as an Evening Standard analysis of PHE figures found there were 1,435 Covid cases in London in the last seven days, taking the total in the capital since the start of the pandemic from 40,634 to 42,069.

However the most recent weekly total is 130 fewer than the 1,565 cases recorded in the capital in the preceding seven days.

The most recent week’s infections include 97 cases in Newham, 87 in Redbridge and 70 in Ealing, where a new walk-in testing facility is opening at Featherstone Terrace car park in Southall.

Professor Fenton said: “The highest number of positive test results in London are in people aged 20 to 29 across the city, which is concerning.

“We don’t want to see this rise in young people have a knock-on effect on those who are more vulnerable to coronavirus, including grandparents, family and friends who are pregnant or have long-term health conditions.”

According to NHS Choices, there is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus.

However they are on the list of people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) as a precaution, and can pass the virus on to their baby in the womb.

A study has been launched at UCL to see if Covid causes an increased risk of miscarriage or premature birth.

The number of people with Covid being admitted to hospital in London is up 70 per cent in a week and more than 100 per cent in the last fortnight, though the numbers are small in comparison to the peak.

There were 83 admissions in the last seven days, up from 48 the week before and 41 a fortnight ago, according to the official coronavirus dashboard.

In Newham, mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said the borough was “currently a relatively low infection-rate area” but warned against complacency. She revealed that a falling number of tests in the borough – probably due to the nationwide difficulty in booking slots – was an “ongoing concern”.

“Newham has experienced some of the worst impacts of Covid-19 due to the health inequalities and vulnerabilities in our communities,” she said. “Tragically 310 people have lost their lives and we continue to mourn their loss.”

In Barking and Dagenham, where there have been 43 new cases in the last week, the council said it had shut down seven venues for operating as nightclubs and failing to observe social distancing.

The most recent, Deuce Lounge in Barking, could be required to remain closed for up to a fortnight after council officers found it “crowded” at 3.30am on Saturday.

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