MORE towns go into lockdown – and is London next?


Leeds drinkers enjoyed a final night out before new restrictions at midnight as Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool prepared to go into lockdown. Punters were seen crowding on pavements outside pubs while others took a seat and down their pints with friends.

Residents in the city will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from Saturday. They will also be advised not to socialise with anyone outside their household in public venues, including bars, restaurants and parks.

The Department of Health and Social Care said some wards in West Yorkshire were exempt from existing restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban. As announced this week, childcare bubbles will be able to be formed to help families care for children under 14, as long as their carers are consistent. This includes formal and informal childcare arrangements.

Around 17million Britons are now living under tougher coronavirus restrictions than the rest of nation after health chiefs on Friday confirmed extra measures were to be imposed on the four areas in the north west as well as parts of Wales.

London was also placed on the national lockdown watchlist because of a spike in cases and hospital admissions as government advisers warned the capital’s R rate may now be as high as 1.5 – the same level seen in the North West, North East and the Midlands, which have all been stung by additional Covid-19 measures.

Number 10’s expert panel SAGE also warned the reproductive rate of the virus may be as high as that for the UK overall. It is the advisory body’s highest projection since it began tracking how quickly the disease was growing back in June and is slightly up on last week’s estimate of 1.1 – 1.4.

If the R rate – the number of people each infected patient passes the disease on to – remains above one, then the outbreak will continue to grow and cases will keep surging, running the risk that local Covid-19 outbreaks spiral out of control into regional and even national problems.

Britain's coronavirus R rate could now be as high as 1.5, government scientific advisers warned on Friday after rises in all regions of the country

Britain’s coronavirus R rate could now be as high as 1.5, government scientific advisers warned on Friday after rises in all regions of the country

Three women walk down a street in Leeds city centre as they meet up with friends for a night out ahead of new restrictions on Saturday

Three women walk down a street in Leeds city centre as they meet up with friends for a night out ahead of new restrictions on Saturday

Drinkers in Leeds (pictured on Friday evening) took to the streets for a final night of fun before the new restrictions come into force on Saturday

Drinkers in Leeds (pictured on Friday evening) took to the streets for a final night of fun before the new restrictions come into force on Saturday

Punters were seen crowding on pavements outside pubs while others took a seat and down their pints with their mates (pictured)

Punters were seen crowding on pavements outside pubs while others took a seat and down their pints with their mates (pictured)

Residents in the city will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from Saturday

Pictured: A woman walks towards a bar

Residents in Leeds will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from Saturday

Leeds residents will also be advised not to socialise with anyone outside their household in public venues, including bars, restaurants and parks

Leeds residents will also be advised not to socialise with anyone outside their household in public venues, including bars, restaurants and parks

One woman sinks a pint as another watches on as people flocked to pubs, bars and restaurant in Leeds ahead of new restrictions on Saturday

One woman sinks a pint as another watches on as people flocked to pubs, bars and restaurant in Leeds ahead of new restrictions on Saturday 

The Department of Health and Social Care said some wards in West Yorkshire (pictured, Leeds) were exempt from existing restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban

The Department of Health and Social Care said some wards in West Yorkshire (pictured, Leeds) were exempt from existing restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban

Health chiefs on Friday announced 6,874 more Covid-19 infections and 34 more deaths. The daily case toll is a record-high and takes the total number of cases to 423,237, although millions of Brits went undiagnosed during the first wave of the pandemic due the government’s lacklustre testing regime.

Government figures show the number of victims succumbing to the life-threatening infection now stands at 29 – 73 per cent higher than the average of 17 last Friday. But they are still a far-cry from the 1,000 being recorded each day during the darkest weeks of the crisis in March and April. But SAGE warned that the low numbers of deaths do not reflect how quickly the outbreak is growing. 

Hospital admissions – another measure of how severe an outbreak is – have also risen again, with 314 newly-infected patients requiring NHS care in England on Wednesday – up from 183 the week before. 

Pubs, restaurants and cafes make up a FIFTH of Covid transmissions, health chief warns

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam has warned pubs, restaurants and cafes make up a fifth of all Covid-19 cases.

He told MPs they were the cause of 20 per cent of all cases spreading. 

Prof Van-Tam said pubs were the source of nine per cent of the spread during call with 90 peers and MPs.

One MP reportedly suggest 1,500 infections a day were due to the venues.

The call came as part of a cross-party meeting about epidemiology. It was amid a backdrop of criticism from some MPs about the latest new coronavirus measures.  

Council bosses in London met on Friday to confirm that the response to the capital’s crisis would be escalated. No tougher measures will be imposed yet but health chiefs have pledged to boost testing capacity to control any flare-ups. Formal confirmation is expected to be announced later by Public Health England.

Official government figures show London recorded 620 more cases of Covid-19 yesterday – twice as high as the rate last week. But the capital’s outbreak appears to have plateaued since spiking at the start of September, when taking into account separate data that analyses when positive samples were actually taken, not recorded. It can take suspected patients several days to get their test results back. 

Hospital admissions in the capital have tripled in a fortnight, with the rolling average rising from 11 on September 2 to 34.7 by September 19. But the number is still a far cry from the 700-plus at the height of the pandemic in spring and only slightly higher than they were the start of July (around 25). For comparison, 13 times as many admissions were being recorded in March (425 on March 22) — before the national lockdown was imposed. 

Meanwhile, swathes of towns in the North of England and parts of Wales will be hit with local lockdowns on Saturday in a bid to curb spiralling infections. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed Wigan and Stockport are to have local restrictions that apply to the rest of Greater Manchester reintroduced.

The Manchester towns were previously removed from restrictions on meeting with people in homes and private gardens after the infection rate fell in the boroughs. The case rate in Wigan currently stands at over 106 cases per 100,000, whilst Stockport has 71 cases per 100,000. From Saturday, residents will be banned from mixing indoors or in gardens with people outside their immediate household.

The same raft of measures have also been announced in Leeds and Blackpool – which now follows Lancashire in being placed under local lockdown restrictions, having escaped the measures last Friday. Welsh officials on Friday confirmed Cardiff and Swansea will be hit by the same measures from 6pm on Sunday, while the town of Llanelli will see the new rules come in on Saturday at 6pm. The addition of these areas would take the number of people living under local restrictions to more than 17million across the UK.  

Dozens of areas across England which have seen Covid-19 infection rates spiral over the past month are currently on the watchlist, which is updated every Friday. Authorities are separated into three different categories based on how quickly outbreaks are growing. Local restrictions are imposed in areas carrying the ‘intervention’ tag, while more testing is made available for boroughs listed as being of ‘concern’ and more detailed plans to control cases are made for areas under ‘enhanced support’. 

Meanwhile in Liverpool crowds took to the city centre to enjoy a night out with friends as the city so far avoids a local lockdown

Meanwhile in Liverpool crowds took to the city centre to enjoy a night out with friends as the city so far avoids a local lockdown

Four girls smile as they part out in Liverpool on Friday evening, with one posing as she is hugged by her friend (right)

Four girls smile as they part out in Liverpool on Friday evening, with one posing as she is hugged by her friend (right)

Londoners also took to the streets on a cool evening in the capital, with people pictured here drinking in the popular Soho area

Londoners also took to the streets on a cool evening in the capital, with people pictured here drinking in the popular Soho area

London is thought to be on the brink of a localised lockdown. Official government data shows the capital recorded 620 more cases of Covid-19 yesterday - twice as high as the rate last week

London is thought to be on the brink of a localised lockdown. Official government data shows the capital recorded 620 more cases of Covid-19 yesterday – twice as high as the rate last week

Covid-19 hospital admissions in the capital have tripled in a fortnight, with the seven-day average rising from 11 on September 2 to 33.4 by September 18. But the number of hospitalisations in the city is still a far cry from the 700-plus at the height of the pandemic in spring and only slightly higher than they were the start of July (around 25), when the country was deemed safe to reopen again

Covid-19 hospital admissions in the capital have tripled in a fortnight, with the seven-day average rising from 11 on September 2 to 33.4 by September 18. But the number of hospitalisations in the city is still a far cry from the 700-plus at the height of the pandemic in spring and only slightly higher than they were the start of July (around 25), when the country was deemed safe to reopen again

Public Health England data shows only a handful of London's 32 boroughs are now seeing a sustained rise in infections - including Redbridge, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham and Enfield. The data is set to be updated on Friday, but gives an indication of which boroughs are struggling the most

Public Health England data shows only a handful of London’s 32 boroughs are now seeing a sustained rise in infections – including Redbridge, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham and Enfield. The data is set to be updated on Friday, but gives an indication of which boroughs are struggling the most 

King's College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week

King’s College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) believes it has risen 60 per cent over the same time frame and that there are now 9,600 infections a day

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) believes it has risen 60 per cent over the same time frame and that there are now 9,600 infections a day

Friday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen

Friday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen

London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressed for more measures to be imposed to stop cases rising any more before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nation-wide 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants and encouraged working from home again. Pictured: Soho

London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressed for more measures to be imposed to stop cases rising any more before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nation-wide 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants and encouraged working from home again. Pictured: Soho

Leeds is also expected to be hit with new restrictions from midnight, including 'more household restrictions' along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts, because of a rise in cases

Leeds is also expected to be hit with new restrictions from midnight, including ‘more household restrictions’ along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts, because of a rise in cases

WHAT AREAS ARE ON THE MOST RECENT WATCHLIST? 

The most recent watchlist, published last Friday, included:

INTERVENTION (number of infections recorded up to September 15 for every 100,000 people living there)

BOLTON – 212.7

BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN – 122.9

OADBY AND WIGSTON – 119.2

HYNDBURN – 117.6

PRESTON – 105.1

WARRINGTON – 105.0

TAMESIDE – 103.5

SUNDERLAND – 103.1

OLDHAM – 98.9

BIRMINGHAM – 98.0

BRADFORD – 97.5

LIVERPOOL – 95.8

WIRRAL – 95.6

BURNLEY – 93.8

KNOWSLEY – 92.9

ST HELENS – 91.6

BURY – 90.5

SALFORD – 88.8

LEICESTER – 86.7

SOUTH TYNESIDE – 86.5

ROCHDALE – 84.1

MANCHESTER – 83.6

GATESHEAD – 77.5

SOLIHULL – 77.2

SANDWELL – 72.1

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE – 69.6

PENDLE – 61.3

HALTON – 60.7

KIRKLEES – 60.4

WOLVERHAMPTON – 60.3

CALDERDALE – 59.5

ROSSENDALE – 57.8

SOUTH RIBBLE – 52.5

SEFTON – 49.0

NORTH TYNESIDE – 48.5

WEST LANCASHIRE – 47.4

COUNTY DURHAM – 46.7

TRAFFORD – 45.7

CHORLEY – 35.1

WYRE – 34.2

FYLDE – 28.8

NORTHUMBERLAND – 24.7

LANCASTER – 22.9

RIBBLE VALLEY – 18.3

ENHANCED SUPPORT 

LEEDS – 75.5

BLABY – 65.7

STOCKPORT – 48.7

CONCERN 

SELBY – 65.1

HARTLEPOOL – 55.8

SHEFFIELD – 53.7

SPELTHORNE – 53.4

CORBY – 50.8

MIDDLESBROUGH – 47.0

NORTHAMPTON – 42.6

SCARBOROUGH – 42.3

HERTSMERE – 37.4

PETERBOROUGH – 30.3

STOKE-ON-TRENT – 27.4

In other coronavirus developments: 

  • National debt hit another record high of more than £2trillion at the end of August as Tory MPs demand the Government urgently set out how the UK will pay for the coronavirus crisis after Rishi Sunak’s latest bailout;
  • Row over Rishi’s £3bn jobs rescue: Bosses say scheme won’t save jobs because there’s ‘little incentive’ to pay wages of staff not in work while Next boss Lord Wolfson warns UK economy risks ‘becoming HOOKED’ on handouts;
  • Scottish students face ‘red and yellow cards’ for breaking Covid rules after freshers were caught throwing illegal parties at university halls;
  • Furious Tories nickname Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance ‘Witless and Unbalanced’ as 40 MPs urge Boris Johnson to be ‘smart’ and give Parliament a vote on all new lockdown rules; 
  • A long-served female worker at Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire pudding plant dies while another is seriously ill in hospital – two weeks after Covid outbreak.

A weekly report by SAGE on Friday said that the R rate for the UK appears to be between 1.2 and 1.5, and is the same in England. These are the highest estimates the chief scientists have given since their regular updates began.

The R appears to be highest in London, the Midlands, North West and the North East, where it is thought to be at the same rate as the UK. This means each infected case passes it on to 1.2 to 1.5 others, or every 10 infect 12 or 15 more. 

SAGE cautions, however, that its estimates of R are around three weeks out of date each time they are published, because they are calculated by watching how the numbers of positive tests and hospital cases change over time. 

The advisory panel also says the growth rate has increased, and the outbreak may now be increasing in size by between four and eight per cent each day. Last week it said it was slightly lower at between three and seven per cent.

But it admitted outbreaks could be growing by as much as nine per cent each day in the South West. 

The decision to put London on the national watchlist comes as a striking MailOnline map on Friday suggested that London’s Covid-19 hotspots may be linked by the city’s bustling underground network. Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, and Sutton — none of which have a Tube station — have the lowest infection rates across the entire city.

London Councils, a cross-party organisation which represents all 32 boroughs and the City of London, said the English capital was being placed on the national Covid-19 watchlist.

The list is divided between ‘areas of intervention’ which usually have local lockdown restrictions, areas of ‘enhanced support’, given more testing for example, and’ areas of concern’ that are closely monitored.

London Councils said no additional measures were being taken in the city but that ‘the city’s testing capacity is boosted so that Londoners have timely access to Covid-19 tests and the government must ensure that this is sustained from now on’.

The organisation said London’s Its entry on the list should serve as a ‘stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action’.

The watchlist is determined by Health Secretary Matt Hancock after studying epidemiological advice from the chief medical officer, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England. 

Sian Berry, Green Party co-leader and London Mayor candidate, said: ‘We have lacked test information in London for weeks, which has caused huge worry for all of us in local and regional government,’ according to The Evening Standard.

‘The news that Public Health England has added London to its list of areas of concern, using estimates from other data, shows what a crucial time this is, and how all our actions can make a difference.

‘The 10pm closing time for bars and restaurants has already led to crowded scenes on public transport that worry me greatly. My strong advice to Londoners is to avoid going out in the next few days unless you have to, and find other ways to see friends and family.

‘Like you, I am sad, tired and weary after six months of a gruelling national crisis, but we’re in a dangerous moment, lacking data and tests, and we must work together as a city amid rising signs of infection.’ 

Meanwhile, Blackpool will have extra Covid-19 restrictions imposed for the first time from Saturday along with two other North West towns facing further clampdowns.

Wigan and Stockport, which had been exempt from wider restrictions imposed on Greater Manchester, will now face the same restrictions as the rest of the region.

Blackpool, which had been exempt from restrictions in the rest of Lancashire, will join the rest of the county in having to follow the same rules.

The resort was controversially left out of Lancashire restrictions imposed recently but then saw a huge surge in visitors during the sunny weather last weekend.

Scott Benton, Conservative MP for Blackpool South writing on his Facebook page, said the town’s council and the Government had now decided to impose additional restrictions on the resort, which will bring it into line with the rest of Lancashire which had extra restrictions imposed last week.

Mr Benton said when the decision was made to impose additional restrictions on the rest of Lancashire at the beginning of last week, the Blackpool infection rate was 23 cases per 100,000 people at that time and significantly below the average for the rest of Lancashire.

But by Wednesday the town’s infection rate had increased to 63 cases per 100,000, still below the average for the whole of Lancashire but a significant rise in cases over the last week.

Mr Benton’s post on Facebook said: ‘The rise in cases is particularly high in areas of north Blackpool and the evidence is that this is due to transmission within the community rather than as a result of tourism (this explains why our local infection rate has remained low in comparison to other areas in the North West despite visitors coming here all summer).

The ONS has spotted a rise in infections among all age groups in England - although the steepest increase was observed in 17 to 24-year-olds

The ONS has spotted a rise in infections among all age groups in England – although the steepest increase was observed in 17 to 24-year-olds

Data from the King College London's app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up and report their symptoms, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms

Data from the King College London’s app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up and report their symptoms, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms

HOW HAS THE R RATE CHANGED FROM LAST WEEK?

AREA

UK

England

East

London

Midlands

NE and Yorks

North West

South East

South West

THIS WEEK 

1.2 – 1.5

1.2 – 1.5

 

1.1 – 1.3

1.2 – 1.5

1.2 – 1.5

1.2 – 1.5

1.2 – 1.5

1.0 – 1.3

1.1 – 1.4

LAST WEEK 

1.1 – 1.4

1.2 – 1.4

 

1.0 – 1.3

1.1 – 1.4

1.2 – 1.5

1.2 – 1.4

1.2 – 1.5

1.1 – 1.4

0.9 – 1.6

HOW HAS THE GROWTH RATE CHANGED FROM LAST WEEK?

AREA

UK

England

East

London

Midlands

NE and Yorks

North West

South East

South West

THIS WEEK 

4% to 8%

4% to 8%

 

1% to 4%

4% to 9%

3% to 7%

4% to 8%

3% to 9%

1% to 5%

1% to 6%

LAST WEEK 

3% to 7%

2% to 7%

 

0% to 5%

3% to 7%

4% to 8%

3% to 8%

3% to 8%

3% to 7%

0% to 9%

‘It is vital that we take sensible steps now to reduce the rate of transmission which is why these new restrictions are being applied.

‘Nobody wants a second full lockdown and that idea behind these new rules is to slow the spread of Covid-19 so that we do not end up in a position where a full lockdown has to be considered.’

Lisa Nandy, Labour MP for Wigan, said that additional restrictions on mixing between households are to be reimposed on the borough in line with most of Greater Manchester.

She tweeted: ‘The Health Minister confirmed in a call that a rise in infections in Wigan means we’re subject to wider Greater Manchester restrictions again.’

Restrictions were previously eased in Wigan on August 26 as infection rates were low but latest seven-day rolling figures show 106.2 positive cases per 100,000 population.

Stockport is facing the same additional restrictions being re-imposed in Wigan which bans mixing between households which had been allowed since September 2. The restrictions are expected to come in from midnight.

Matt Hancock said in a statement on Friday: ‘The latest data shows a sharp increase in incidence rates per 100,000 population in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and Stockport, which are significantly above the national average.

‘As a result, we are making regulations which take effect from Saturday 26 September and will impose restrictions on inter-household mixing in private dwellings and gardens in Leeds, Stockport, Wigan and Blackpool.

‘This is in line with measures seen elsewhere in the country, such as Leicester and the West Midlands. People who live in these areas will not be allowed to gather in a private dwelling or garden with any other household unless in a support bubble. People from anywhere else will also not be allowed to gather with another household in a private dwelling or garden in these areas.

‘We have also reviewed the position in Leicester, the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Bolton, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale and the remaining local authorities in Greater Manchester and have decided to maintain their position on the watchlist as areas of intervention, as well as the current restrictions in these areas.’

Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said the city’s virus rate was 98.5 per 100,000 people with a positive testing rate of 8.4 per cent. Pictured: Students and young people out drinking in the city this week

Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said the city’s virus rate was 98.5 per 100,000 people with a positive testing rate of 8.4 per cent. Pictured: Students and young people out drinking in the city this week

Wednesday night out in Leeds: Revellers queue up to party on the last night before the new 10pm curfew announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Wednesday night out in Leeds: Revellers queue up to party on the last night before the new 10pm curfew announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson 

SCOTLAND RECORDS 558 NEW CASES AS NICOLA STURGEON SAYS STUDENTS NOT TO BLAME FOR SPIKE

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted students are not to blame for a rise in coronavirus outbreaks, as she announced a record daily total of new Covid-19 cases.

Hundreds of students at universities across Scotland are self-isolating after outbreaks of the virus.

All students face disciplinary action if they break strict measures imposed on them by their universities, including bans on visiting pubs over this weekend and restrictions on socialising.

Speaking at the daily briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister said 558 people tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland in the past 24 hour, bringing the total to 26,518.

This is the highest daily total since the pandemic began – but it is impossible to compare numbers now to those recorded during the first wave because so few tests were carried out in March and April.

There has also been a rise in the positivity rates of tests to 9.5 per cent, but no new deaths have been recorded – meaning the total number of fatalities remains at 2,510.

Addressing students, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I am so sorry, so heart sorry, that this time of your lives is being made as tough as it is just now – I really feel for you, but I feel especially for those of you starting university for the first time and, of course, living alone for the first time.

‘This is an exciting time in your lives but I remember from my own experience… that it’s also a time of adjustment and it’s also a time of home sickness as well, and that’s the case for students every year without Covid-19 but it is much more difficult given the circumstances you are all facing right now.’

She said some students feel they are being blamed for the spread of Covid-19 but ‘that is not the case’. ‘It’s not your fault,’ she added.  

The statement continues: ‘This will be difficult news for the people living in these areas, profoundly affecting their daily lives. These decisions are not taken lightly, and such measures will be kept under review and in place no longer than they are necessary.

‘There are exemptions to these measures so people can still meet with those in their support bubble. There are other limited exemptions such as for work purposes or to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person.

‘Through the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Protected Areas and Linked Childcare Households) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, people may create an exclusive childcare bubble for the purposes of informal childcare for children under 14, helping ease pressure on those living under local restrictions so they can get to work.’

Meanwhile the council leader of Leeds Judith Blake said she expected Leeds will be made an ‘area of intervention’ this Friday, up from enhanced support last week. It means ‘more household restrictions along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts in Bradford, Kirkless and Calderdale’, she said. From Tuesday, people in those areas have been banned from socialising with anyone not part of their household or support bubble in private homes and gardens.

Ms Blake told reporters: ‘We expect them to come in from midnight.’ The addition of Leeds’ 793,000 population would take the number of people living under local restrictions to more than 17million people across the UK.

Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said the city’s virus rate was 98.5 per 100,000 people with a positive testing rate of 8.4 per cent. For comparison, Bolton’s is 218.4 and the highest in England.

Mr Eaton said: ‘The spread of the virus is very dynamic across the city. It’s clear to see we have very widespread community transmissions right across the city.

‘We have high rates in some of our student areas which we have increased more recently. It’s clearly not just an issue for student areas.’

She said cases were rising in all age groups, not just young adults and that compliance with self-isolation rules was low in Leeds.

‘We want to find ways to support local people to isolate,’ she said. ‘The expectation is the restrictions will be in place for a longer period of time, potentially right through the winter.’  Both London and Leeds have been feared to be tinkering on the brink of a ‘local lockdown’ for at least a week. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressed for more measures to be imposed to stop cases rising any more before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nation-wide 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants and encouraged working from home again.

Infections across the city has more than doubled since August, with the seven-day weekly average number of cases rising from 86 per 100,000 to 262 per 100,000.  

Ministers are said to be mulling a decision to place more than 9million people in the city under even tighter restrictions, if the new suite of national social distancing measures announced by the Government this week fail to curb climbing numbers.  

IS BRITAIN’S COVID-19 OUTBREAK TAKING OFF AGAIN?

Some top scientists had insisted there was not a true rise in cases because the test positivity rate - how many cases are found for every swab completed - had not changed wildly. However, this appears to no longer be the case. NHS Test and Trace data shows almost 3.3 per cent of people tested get a positive result compared to lows of 1.1 in July

Some top scientists had insisted there was not a true rise in cases because the test positivity rate – how many cases are found for every swab completed – had not changed wildly. However, this appears to no longer be the case. NHS Test and Trace data shows almost 3.3 per cent of people tested get a positive result compared to lows of 1.1 in July

Britain’s coronavirus outbreak appears to be speeding up again, according to official data.

Friday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen.

Before last Saturday, the weekly coronavirus growth rate had dropped every day for an entire week. It had plummeted from the high of 84 per cent on September 12 to 20 per cent on September 19.   

It comes as chief scientific advisors to the Government, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, terrified the nation by their gloomy prediction that cases may reach 50,000 per day by mid-October, if nothing is done. They claimed infections were doubling every week, in line with growing outbreaks in Spain and France. 

But scientists shot down the claims, warning it was based on old data that relied on just a few hundred positive cases. Even Boris Johnson distanced himself from the claims, saying the outbreak could be doubling up to every 20 days. 

Other figures from NHS Test and Trace also suggest cases had dwindled last week. But the newest statistics – released yesterday – only go up until September 16, meaning any spike in the past week has yet to be confirmed in another government dataset. 

The most up-to-date statistics released by Public Health England (PHE), which cover the week ending September 18, reveal that just a single borough in the capital — Redbridge — ranks among the top 40 worst-hit regions of the country. 

But infection rates in 20 London boroughs are higher than areas of England already hit by restrictions. PHE published its latest batch of figures on infections on Friday afternoon which also confirmed London’s spot on the watchlist.

It comes as the Welsh Government announce Cardiff and Swansea will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Sunday, and the town of Llanelli on Saturday at 6pm.

Under the restrictions, people will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse. They will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.

People must work from home when possible, health minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference in Cardiff.   

Over the past seven days, Cardiff reached a test positivity rate of 3.8 per cent, exceeding the Welsh Government’s ‘amber’ threshold of 2.5 per cent – part of its ‘traffic light roadmap’ strategy for managing the pandemic.

On Thursday, Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas said the capital had seen 38.2 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over the past five days. Swansea’s rate is 49.8. 

From 6pm on Thursday, changes to coronavirus regulations mean Welsh hospitality businesses including pubs, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and casinos must not supply alcohol between 10pm and 6am the following day.

Licensed premises will only be able to provide table service for customers when consuming food or drink, and following a 20-minute period to allow customers to finish their drinks at 10pm, must close by 10.20pm.

During a behind-closed-doors briefing this week, Kevin Fenton, director of Public Health England in London, told Mayor Mr Khan and the leaders of all 32 boroughs that all signs indicated the disease was making a rapid resurgence in the city. 

Professor Fenton argued testing infrastructure had been stripped out of the capital and reallocated to hotspots in the north, meaning many Londoners may have gone undiagnosed. 

He warned cases could be being massively under-reported due to Londoners struggling to get access to tests, and that increased hospital admissions and a rising number of calls to 111 were better indicators that London was in the midst of an outbreak as serious as in the northeast.

Professor Fenton told The Times: ‘We are seeing a rising tide of coronavirus cases in London across a broad range of ages. This is no longer limited to young people in their twenties.’ 

He said that ‘whilst the number of cases by borough varies, the general trend across the city is one of steadily increasing transmission and if that continues then the situation may escalate’.   

Professor Fenton revealed that about that about a fifth of testing capacity had been stripped from the capital and reallocated to hotspots in the north this month. 

In the middle of August there were about 90,000 tests being done every week in London, but there were just 65,000 carried out last week, according to Professor Fenton. 

But the latest Department of Health figures show testing in London has actually increased week-on-week. 

There were 85,000 tests done across the capital in the week up to September 16, up from 75,000 the previous seven days. Even the capital’s hotspots are enjoying more access to swabs – Barking carried out 2,669 tests in the week ending September 16, 25 per cent more than the week before, when 2,036 swabs were done. In Redbridge, 3,370 residents were checked for the virus in the latest reporting period, compared to 3,046 the week prior, a rise of nearly 10 per cent. 

BETWEEN 9,000 AND 16,000 PEOPLE GETTING INFECTED EACH DAY, DATA SHOWS

The North West is still bearing most of the brunt of the second wave, but Yorkshire, London and the North East are seeing significant outbreaks

The North West is still bearing most of the brunt of the second wave, but Yorkshire, London and the North East are seeing significant outbreaks

Between 9,000 and 16,000 Britons are getting infected with coronavirus every day, according to researchers monitoring the UK’s outbreak.

King’s College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week.

The Office for National Statistics, a Government-run agency, has made a more modest estimate on Friday, saying it thinks around 9,600 people are contracting the virus every day, a 60 per cent rise from the 6,000 a week prior. 

Both surveillance projects are picking up far more than the Government’s official testing programme, which recorded 6,000-plus cases on Thursday and Wednesday.

KCL collects its data by sending tests to people who report tell-tale symptoms of Covid-19 into the mobile app, while the ONS study sends tests to random households regardless of their health status.  

Data from the symptom-tracking app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms. This figure has more than doubled since last week, when there were about 70,000 symptomatic patients. The chief scientist behind the app said it was fresh evidence the crisis was ‘rising at an alarming rate’.  

The ONS, on the other hand, estimates that about 113,000 people are currently carrying the virus – equating to around one in 500 people – although the number-crunching body only looks at England and Wales.

It comes as Matt Hancock yesterday suggested the true number of cases occurring each day was in the region of 10,000. And the Health Secretary pointed out that the spike now is nowhere near levels seen during the darkest days of the crisis in March and April, when 100,000 people were getting infected every 24 hours.

Official figures show the outbreak may finally be slowing down, despite hospital admissions for coronavirus having tripled in a fortnight and public health chiefs warning of a ‘rising tide’ of the virus in the capital.  

Only a handful of boroughs now seeing a sustained rise in infections — including Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham, two of the three worst-hit parts of the capital.  

Redbridge, in east London, is suffering the highest number of infections of anywhere in the capital, with a weekly case rate of 34.2 per 100,000 people, according to PHE data up to September 18. 

The borough of 300,000 people currently has just the 40th highest infection rate in the UK but it has suffered a sustained increase in diagnoses of Covid-19 over the past month and a half.

Figures show infections have tripled in Redbridge since September 4, when the rate was 11.2 per 100,000 per week, and have risen by tenfold since the start of August (3.3).

And Redbridge’s actual number of new infections being diagnosed each day — figures which are provided by the Department of Health — is one of the only borough’s to still be on the up. It went from a rolling seven-day average of three cases at the end of August to almost 23 at the end of last week. 

The Department of Health data, published on the government’s coronavirus dashboard, takes into account daily cases by specimen date, meaning they lag behind by a few days because it can take upwards of 72 hours to get a result back.

The west London borough of Hounslow has been the second worst-hit region in the capital, with a weekly case rate of 32.5 per 100,000 in the week ending September 18. Like Redbridge, Hounslow has seen cases triple in the past three weeks after rising from 5.9 new infections per 100,000 people at the start of August.

But Department of Health data shows cases in Hounslow, home to 290,000 people, have started to fall. Around 16 actual cases were being diagnosed each day on September 7, up from four at the end of August. But this dropped to below nine on the most recent full-day of data, September 16.

Hounslow has one of the largest South Asian populations in the country – about 20 per cent, compared to the 2 per cent national average – who have been disproportionately affected the virus throughout the crisis.

The weekly infection rates in both boroughs are still significantly lower than the UK average, which is about 47 per 100,000. Although this figure is being skewed upwards due to outbreaks in the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and Oldham.

The east London borough of Barking and Dagenham is suffering 29.3 infections per 100,000, having more than doubled since the start of the month, when the case rate was 12.3 per 100,000, and quadrupling since August 1 (5.9 per 100,000).

Department of Health figures suggest its rolling seven-day average number of daily infections is also still on the up. The borough, home to around 210,000 people, recorded an average of four cases a day at the end of August. This jumped to around nine during the start of September before levelling off. 

But figures for the past week, which are not yet deemed to be accurate because of the three-day lag it takes for coronavirus test samples to be analysed, suggest it may yet be hit by another spike.

Rounding out the top 10 worst-hit boroughs in London for infection rates are Enfield (27.3), Newham (27), Ealing (26.9), Hackney (25.7), Tower Hamlets (25.5), Hammersmith and Fulham (24.8), Harrow (24.4) and Havering (24.4), all of which were up on the week before except Newham. 

Figures show infections have tripled in Redbridge since September 4, when the rate was 11.2 per 100,000 per week, and have risen by tenfold since the start of August (3.3)

Figures show infections have tripled in Redbridge since September 4, when the rate was 11.2 per 100,000 per week, and have risen by tenfold since the start of August (3.3)

The east London borough of Barking and Dagenham is suffering 29.3 infections per 100,000, having more than doubled since the start of the month, when the case rate was 12.3 per 100,000, and quadrupling since August 1 (5.9 per 100,000)

The east London borough of Barking and Dagenham is suffering 29.3 infections per 100,000, having more than doubled since the start of the month, when the case rate was 12.3 per 100,000, and quadrupling since August 1 (5.9 per 100,000)

The west London borough of Hounslow has been the second worst-hit region in the capital, with a weekly case rate of 32.5 per 100,000 in the week ending September 18

The west London borough of Hounslow has been the second worst-hit region in the capital, with a weekly case rate of 32.5 per 100,000 in the week ending September 18

MailOnline revealed on Friday London’s Covid-19 hotspots could be linked by the city’s bustling underground network, according to a striking map based on government data. 

The cluster of cases appear to be centered along the 11 Tube-lines — used by some 2million people every day before the pandemic struck. 

It means areas in the north west and north east of London may be suffering from bigger outbreaks than the south, simply because they have more public transport links. Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, and Sutton — none of which have a Tube station —  have the lowest infection rates across the entire city.

The connection has previously been discovered by experts looking at other contagious respiratory diseases that spread via droplets, such as the coronavirus. British scientists have previously linked busy Tube stations to worse flu outbreaks.

The more changes passengers needed to make on their journey, the more contact they were likely to have with other people. This would potentially be the case with London’s three top hotspots — Redbridge, Hounslow, and Barking and Dagenham — all of which are only served by one Tube line.

Nine of 32 boroughs which were found to have higher cases of the flu, based solely on their London underground connections, now also have higher Covid-19 infection rates. Scientists say the Tube is the ‘perfect environment’ for a virus to spread because of crowding, poor ventilation and dirty surfaces touched by millions.

But experts say the pattern may be more complicated than that — it may be more key workers, who are vulnerable to picking up the virus because they come into close contact with lots of people, choose to live near a Tube line in order to get around easier, while those able to work from home live further out in the suburban commuter belt. 

Infection rates may also be heavily influenced by the borough’s deprivation, as Government studies have shown poorer areas have been shown to have more Covid-19 deaths, and ethnic diversity, as Black, Asian and ethnic minorities have been harder hit by the pandemic for a multitude of reasons.

Millions of travellers were put off the tube during the peak of the first wave of the coronavirus because the Government ruled against any travel other than essential. 

But since restrictions have been lifted in response to the outbreak dwindling, hundreds of thousands more journeys are now being made. Tube capacity has risen to around 35 per cent, up from four per cent in April and May. Cases also appear to keep rising in London alongside the uptick in journeys. 

MailOnline analysis last week revealed that 20 boroughs in total across London have infection rates higher than areas of England already hit by restrictions, including Kensington and Chelsea (23.7), Wandsworth (23), Brent 22.7.

Public Health England’s most recent watchlist shows the authority in England with the lowest case rate considered an ‘area of intervention’ — the highest degree of concern — is Ribble Valley, with 18.3 cases per 100,000.  

Meanwhile, several boroughs in the capital have managed to keep virus cases suppressed since August, despite the upwards trend seen across the nation. 

The south London borough of Sutton ranks among the 25 least affected areas in England, with a current weekly case rate of 9.3 per 100,000, according to PHE data up to September 18.

This actually fell from the previous week (10.3) and has just by just 45 per cent from the start of August (6.4).  Bromley (11.8), Bexley (12.1), Merton (13.6), Croydon (14) and Kingston upon Thames (14.3) have the five lowest weekly infection rates after Sutton.

All of those boroughs, excluding Merton, do not have an underground station, which may partly explain the low number of cases. British scientists have previously linked busy tube stations to worse flu outbreaks. 

Testing bosses say they’ve had to prioritise resources at a time when the country is struggling to ramp up capacity fast enough to deal with the looming second wave. 

Boris Johnson has pledged for the UK to be able to process 500,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of next month, more than double the current 242,000 capacity. But industry insiders say this target could be missed because of delays in machines and chemicals. 

Meanwhile, between 9,000 and 16,000 Britons are getting infected with coronavirus every day, according to researchers monitoring the UK’s outbreak.

King’s College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week.

The Office for National Statistics, a Government-run agency, has made a more modest estimate on Friday, saying it thinks around 9,600 people are contracting the virus every day, a 60 per cent rise from the 6,000 a week prior. 

Both surveillance projects are picking up far more than the Government’s official testing programme, which recorded 6,000-plus cases on Thursday and Wednesday.

KCL collects its data by sending tests to people who report tell-tale symptoms of Covid-19 into the mobile app, while the ONS study sends tests to random households regardless of their health status.  

Data from the symptom-tracking app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms. This figure has more than doubled since last week, when there were about 70,000 symptomatic patients. The chief scientist behind the app said it was fresh evidence the crisis was ‘rising at an alarming rate’.  

The ONS, on the other hand, estimates that about 113,000 people are currently carrying the virus – equating to around one in 500 people – although the number-crunching body only looks at England and Wales.

It comes as Matt Hancock yesterday suggested the true number of cases occurring each day was in the region of 10,000. And the Health Secretary pointed out that the spike now is nowhere near levels seen during the darkest days of the crisis in March and April, when 100,000 people were getting infected every 24 hours.

KCL has based its latest estimates on nearly 7,000 tests this week, of which 151 were positive – about three times more than the ONS.  

More positive tests improves the accuracy of the data but the study may have a slight bias because it only swabs people who are already ill.

The ONS study sends tests to random groups of people, which may give a better indication of the true scale of the virus. But the real number of infections is likely to lie somewhere in the middle, and both data-sets are being fed into Government to help steer it through the crisis. 

KCL’s fresh batch of data was based on 6,847 swab tests done between September 7 and September 20 from people right across the UK, during which 151 people tested positive for the virus.

Researchers then extrapolate this data to the general population to make estimates about the virus’s trajectory. 

The app estimates 147,498 people have symptomatic Covid-19 in the UK right now, with 55,201 patients in England, 14,319 in Scotland and 9,075 in Wales. They did not make estimates for Northern Ireland.

Almost half of the new daily infections are occurring in the North of England (7,778) but London, Glasgow and Belfast are also seeing ‘worrying’ rises, according to the KCL team. 

Broken down, the North West of England is being battered hardest by the latest surge in infections, with estimated cases tripling in the last seven days from 12,544 to 36,316. 

In the North East and Yorkshire and London, infections have more than doubled from 12,916 to 27,731 and 9,291 to 18,200, respectively.

The researchers now predict the reproduction ‘R’ rate – the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is dangerously high across the UK – 1.4 in England and Wales and 1.3 in Scotland.

Experts say keeping the R squashed below 1.0 is essential to prevent the outbreak from growing exponentially and spiralling out of control. 

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the brains behind the app, said: ‘The number of cases in the UK continues to rise at an alarming rate as we are seeing figures doubling weekly across the country, in particular we are worried about places like London and other major cities like Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow where cases are surging and the R value is around 1.4.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk