New London coronavirus cases ‘remain relatively low’


London is “doing a good job” at keeping the coronavirus spread under control with rates “remaining relatively low” despite lockdown easing, according to latest data.

Data on London coronavirus rates from the King’s College London (KCL) COVID tracker app, shared with the Standard, suggests that on July 4 – the day many lockdown restrictions fell away – there were just 203 daily new cases in the capital.

The data also suggested London has been maintaining a low level of cases throughout June after seeing a fall in late May.

Back on May 12, the app data reported over 1,000 daily new cases, falling to between 200 and 300 per day June 1 and remaining at or below those levels for the entire month.

It has been mandatory to wear a facemask on public transport and in cabs for several weeks (Jeremy Selwyn)

Prof Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College who is leading the app’s research, told the Standard: “It’s interesting to see that the numbers in London are still remaining relatively low with just 2,042 predicted symptomatic cases and 203 daily new cases.

“These figures have remained very stable over the past few weeks, which suggests that even though lockdown is being eased, London is currently doing a good job at keeping the number of cases under control.”

The outlook is not looking as positive UK-wide, however, Prof Spector said.

The findings, based on 11,639 swab tests and data input by over 3 million app users, found that there are currently around 1,472 new daily cases across Britain.

The expert explained this suggests there has been no overall decline in UK Covid-19 transmission rates on the previous fortnight, when the app’s research found around 1,445 new daily cases.

Based on the app’s most recent data, which excludes care homes, the KCL team estimate that that 23,459 people in the UK currently have symptomatic Covid-19 – a figure in line with the most recent ONS Infection survey, which showed 25,000 people were estimated to be infected in the two weeks to June 27.

Some regions are still seeing higher numbers of cases, including the Midlands – which has seen a local lockdown in Leicester – and Wales.

Based on data taken from swab tests reported to the app, the Midlands saw around 363 new cases per day, Wales saw 168, and Scotland the lowest with 75.

Prof Spector added: “It is disappointing to see that the number of daily new cases are no longer falling like they have been in previous weeks, this could be a temporary blip or due to the easing of lockdown and the amount of social contact slowly increasing.

Leicester was the site of the UK’s first local lockdown (PA)

“Importantly our updated analysis of the prevalence is still continuing to show that The Midlands and Wales are key areas in the country where the amount of COVID is remaining relatively high. It is important that we keep a close eye on these areas.”

The team behind the app were among the first to highlight loss of taste and smell as a symptom of Covid-19, prompting the NHS to add it to its list of coronavirus indicators, and last week suggested unusual rashes could also be a sign of infection.

He urged people who have recovered to keep logging their progress in order to help scientific research, saying: “With the growing number of people suffering for extended periods of time, we are going to be focusing on these long term sufferers to help us research causes and potential treatments. But in order for this to be possible, we need all our users to continue to log in, even if they have been ill and have got better.”

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