London’s coronavirus figures ‘skewed by university students in other cities’Ivy Madziva
London’s coronavirus figures ‘skewed by university students in other cities’ amid fears capital is ‘two weeks behind the North West’.
A student walks past a sign at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where Glasgow University students are being tested at a pop up test centre ( PA )
The coronavirus rate has soared in Richmond to the highest in the capital, reaching 112.1 new cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 5. Cases have shot up to 222 from 89 in the previous week.
The jump has seen the borough overtake Redbridge which now has the second highest rate at 108.8, with the number of cases rising to 332, from 240.
However, an analysis of 412 positive cases in Richmond since September 20 found that out of 212 for which the council has postcodes, 49 of them were for places including Leeds, Exeter, Manchester and Durham.
They were nearly all in the 17-21 age group. The assumption is that these are London students whose cases have been recorded using their home addresses, possibly through details given of their GP.
The pattern is likely to be replicated in areas across the capital and wider country, however it may be more marked in Richmond given the high number of students who come from the borough.
A coronavirus testing centre in Richmond (REUTERS)
Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond council, said: “The Government rapidly needs to get a grip on the data, cleanse the data because if further restrictions are needed people will only take notice of those restrictions if they have confidence in the data.”
The latest apparent shortcoming in the testing system emerged as:
- Public health chiefs in London were warning of a real threat as the number of new cases grew to 6,660 in the week to October 5, although some of this is due to additional testing.
- The official figures showed the epidemic spreading increasingly to wealthier areas of the capital , although some of this appears to be due to cases of students from London at universities outside the capital.
- As the Government was due to order new restrictions in the North and Midlands, Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the committee which advises the Government on disease modelling, said there was a danger of the disease “jumping outside” areas of lockdown and spreading.
Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and a consultant at St Thomas’ Hospital, told the Standard: “London looks better at the moment than the North-West but we are worried that we are just two weeks behind.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak was set to announce a new furlough-style scheme to help areas affected by local lockdowns, with the state paying around two-thirds of the wages of pub and restaurant workers whose employers are forced to shut.
Business minister Nadhim Zahawi warned that 2020 “is going to be a difficult year”, after new figures on GDP showed the economy struggled in the summer despite the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Speculation that the emergency London Nightingale hospital may be taken out of mothballs this winter grew with a report on Politico that nurses who served there in the first wave have been sent reminders that their training remains valid
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