London is facing a “very real threat” as Covid-19 cases rise, the city’s public health chief warned today.
Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England, said there was “undeniable evidence” that the disease is spreading in the capital.
He appealed to all Londoners to follow social distancing and good hygiene rules to try to combat the growing epidemic, as official figures showed there were 6,660 news cases in the city in the week to October 5.
“I would urge all Londoners to be aware of the data and recognise the very real threat our city is facing. Our actions today matter and by working together we can have an impact,” he said.
He stressed that the city could “limit the severity of a second wave” by sticking to rules on social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing hands regularly.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is of the “firm view” that action should be taken before the virus spirals out of control
He added: “Government restrictions including the rule of six and reducing hospitality hours will also help prevent transmission by providing fewer opportunities for the virus to spread.
“Now is the time for us to pull together, collectively put our guard up and do our bit for London.”
Doctors in the capital believe it is around two weeks behind the North West in the epidemic’s course, with cities including Liverpool and Manchester having seen coronavirus cases soar.
Prof Fenton emphasised: “Coronavirus cases in London are continuing to rise and we are seeing undeniable evidence of that trend.
“Unless this changes and we slow the spread we will have a much more serious situation on our hands in the coming weeks.”
Cases started rising in east London but are now doing so in boroughs across the city, including wealthier areas that had previously seen lower levels of infection.
Several boroughs saw more than 300 new Covid cases in the week to October 5 including Redbridge, Hackney and City of London (most of the cases are in Hackney not the Square Mile), Ealing and Barnet.