Lockdown in Newham having a 'positive' effect on Covid-19 case rate

Participants are being sought for a coronavirus vaccine trial. Picture: David Cheskin/PA

Lockdown restrictions appear to be having an impact on the number and rate of infections in Newham. - Credit: PA

The lockdown restrictions are having a "positive" effect though the Covid-19 case rate is still "very high".

That was the message from Newham's director of public health, Jason Strelitz, as figures reveal there were 3,208 positive tests recorded between January 10-16 in Newham with a rate of 898 per 100,000 people.

This compares to 5,072 positive tests and a rate of 1,392 per 100,000 the week before. The total number of infections to date has reached 28,054, according to council figures.

In London, the rolling seven-day rate as of January 15 stood at 703.7 positive tests per 100,000 people - down from 1,053.4 a week earlier, and the lowest since the seven days to December 19.

Mr Strelitz said: "The positive effects of lockdown in Newham and all the sacrifices everyone is making to stay socially distanced from each other are starting to have a really quite significant, positive effect."

On the figures, he added: "I've got every reason to believe that rate will continue to come down so that's really good news. But it's really important to say that the rate is still very high so we need to keep going. But the positive sign from this, is that the steps we are taking are making a difference."

Other experts tracking the spread of Covid-19 in England say infections may have gone up at the beginning of the current lockdown.

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Professor Paul Elliot, who is leading a React study at Imperial College London, suggested the current lockdown measures may not be strict enough to see a drop in infections and the reproductive rate - the R.

The study on 143,000 randomly selected people looked at the prevalence of coronavirus including in those without symptoms.

Infections from January 6 to 15 were 50pc higher than in early December, the study found.

Mr Strelitz was quizzed alongside fellow health professionals at a vaccine question and answer session on Wednesday, January 20, due to become available on the council website.

So far 8,000 vaccines have been given, with 75 per cent of people aged over 80 in Newham reached. The remaining 25pc are either house-bound or have refused a jab.

People who are shielding because they are extremely, clinically vulnerable are now being vaccinated. 

Dr Muhammad Naqvi, who chairs Newham clinical commissioning group said: "The sooner we can get jabs out to everybody the more impact we can have to turn the tide on this pandemic."