West London borough named as hotspot in ‘watch list’ of areas where covid is increasing

·3-min read

A west London borough was revealed on Wednesday afternoon to have the sixth highest rate in England of new covid infections.

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Public Health England’s weekly covid “watchlist” said there had been 57 cases per 100,000 population in Hounslow in the most recent seven-day period.

The next highest London borough was neighbouring Hillingdon, with 40 cases per 100,000, followed by Ealing on 37 and Brent, Croydon and Harrow all on 28.

PHE weekly watchlist map of covid cases in LondonPHE
PHE weekly watchlist map of covid cases in LondonPHE

Hounslow was not one of five boroughs that Mayor Sadiq Khan referred to – without naming them directly – earlier this week when he said vaccines should be offered to younger Londoners in a bid to dampen the spread of the Indian variant of covid.

Today’s figures, based on cases diagnosed across the country from specimens taken between May 6 and 12, and collated on Monday, are likely to be the latest indication of the threat posed by the Indian variant.

They do not separate out the number of cases of that strain, known as B.1.617.2, as opposed to the Kent or South African strains that are also circulating.

But they show rates have increased week-on-week in 24 of London’s 33 boroughs. 


Separate research from PHE last week showed 400 cases of the Indian strain had been detected in London among about 1,500 cases nationally.

Hounslow, Ealing and Brent are all known to have large South Asian populations and the vast majority of the 400 cases of the Indian strain in London are understood to be in people who have travelled internationally or their family or close contacts.

On Monday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the number of cases of the Indian variant had increased to 2,323 across the UK, including 483 in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, where it has become the dominant strain.

Mr Hancock, in the Commons, rejected Mr Khan’s call for younger Londoners in the five worst-hit areas to be fast-tracked for the jab, despite surge vaccination having been backed by a subcommittee of the Government’s Sage advisory panel.

The Standard established that the five areas of particular concern to the mayor were Hackney, Hillingdon, Ealing, Croydon and Bromley.

Surge testing was introduced in Hackney over the weekend after a “small number” of positive cases of the strain were detected in areas popular with young Londoners - Old Street and Great Eastern Street, in Shoreditch, and around Dalston Lane and Kingsland High Street in Dalston.

Everyone who works or lives in these areas is being asked to take a PCR test.

Today’s data puts Bolton in number one place in England for the highest covid case rate of 275 per 100,000 population.

Bedford is second on 122 and Blackburn with Darwen third on 118.

In Hounslow, the London data shows a concentration of cases in the 17-18 age group, followed by children aged 11 to 16.

Across England, there has been an increase in cases in 158 council areas - with those already having been identified as hotspots for the Indian variant among those worst affected.

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