Infection rates across south east London are peaking at extraordinarily high levels, but new figures show some promise that outbreaks are slowing down. 

Whilst local boroughs continue to record some of the highest infection rates in the country, and the number of new Covid-19 cases increased in all but one borough, the rate of increase has fallen sharply, sparking hope that the latest national lockdown is paying off.

But a total of 12,624 new cases of the virus were recorded in just the last seven days in the four boroughs.

Covid-19 patient numbers are currently twice as high as the peak in April 2020, and several hospitals are reportedly currently atrisk of being overwhelmed by the numbers.

Specifically, there were 7,606 coronavirus patients in London hospitals as of January 12, with 1,085 so ill that they are on ventilators.

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Nearly 6,000 were admitted to hospital in the capital in the week leading up to January 10.

The new figures come from the weekly statistics released by Public Health England, showing the latest Covid-19 case rates across England.

The figures, accurate for the seven days up to January 8 (data for the most recent four days is omitted for accuracy), show the Covid-19 rate, expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 in the past week.

Bexley has the highest Covid-19 infection rate in all south London, and the 12th highest in the country.

The borough recorded a rate of 1,216.7 after 3,021 new cases were registered, but this is only a small increase from 3,009 last week.

Greenwich also saw a small rise in its infection rate from 1,074.1 to 1133.6 after 3,264 cases were recorded.

Lewisham saw the largest rise in its infection rate, starting the week on 1000.2 and ending it on 1,076.7. A total of 3,293 cases were recorded.

But in Bromley, the battle against the virus appears to be working, as infection rates have actually fallen.

Despite still recording 3,046 new cases, the borough went from 1,131.7 to 916.5 in a week.

This, along with slowing increases across the rest of the region, will cause some to hope that the second wave and the new variant have finally peaked.

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Despite any hopes of Covid-19 rates declining, London NHS workers will still be dealing with record numbers of patients for quite some time, with experts saying things will liken worsen in hospitals before they improve.

Earlier this week, both Sadiq Khan and London Councils implored Boris Johnson to urgently implement even stricter coronavirus measures in the capital – including closing places of worship – or risk putting an “unsustainable strain” on the NHS and public services.

Nearby, Dartford reports a whopping 1,123.4, whilst Croydon also recorded a worrying 1,117.9.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 225 (71%) have seen a rise in case rates, 89 (28%) have seen a fall and one is unchanged.

Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have the highest rate in England, with 3,451 new cases recorded in the seven days to January 8 – the equivalent of 1,620.9 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up slightly from 1,565.0 in the seven days to January 1.

Newham, also in London, has the second highest rate, up from 1,366.1 to 1,468.3, with 5,185 new cases.

Knowsley in Merseyside has the third highest rate, up sharply from 598.6 to 1,461.6, with 2,205 new cases.