COVID AND THE CITY: At a crucial moment in the fight against the pandemic, after lockdown and before mass vaccination, Eastlondonlines begins a major series: firstly examining the toll of the virus on local people and NHS workers, and then looking ahead to the impact on shopping and hospitality and asking: will we be hugging or Zooming at Christmas?
From today, we are entering a new phase in fighting the virus. As the nation ends the lockdown, London enters Tier 2 and we all wonder what kind of Christmas is coming, news has arrived of the approval of the first vaccine, to be rolled out from next week.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK is undeniable. No sector of the economy has escaped the first and second waves unscathed, and the country continues to see deaths from the virus, even with the hope of a vaccine on the horizon.
At Eastlondonlines, we know that keeping track of coronavirus statistics, although of paramount importance, can be confusing. That’s why, as a service to our readers, we will now regularly update the figures which most apply to them, on a weekly basis. As lockdown ends, and we move into the government’s new, tiered system, this page will track the virus’s ongoing impact upon our local boroughs. We understand that this winter will be a difficult time for everyone, and hope that this service helps our readers to make sense of this unprecedented crisis.
What does Tier 2 mean for London? According to government guidance here are the new restrictions at a glance:
- Meeting indoors between households is prohibited, unless the households have formed support bubbles or qualify for a legal exemption
- Although households can mix outdoors, the rule of six still applies, unless the group qualifies for a legal exemption
- If rules are broken, a first offence can be penalised by a one-off fine of £200, doubling for each further offence up to £6400
- Illegal gatherings of over 30 people may result in a fine of up to £10,000
- In Tier 2, people should still attend school, and can still visit businesses such as shops, restaurants and pubs
- However, hospitality venues can only serve alcohol in conjunction with a substantial meal. They must take last orders at 10:00pm, and be closed by 11:00pm, under new curfew restrictions
- Everyone who can work form home should continue to do so
As of the latest update on the government’s coronavirus tracking webpage, in the last 7 days 103,445 people in the UK tested positive for the virus, which is down by 24.4% from the previous week. However, the opposite is true for the national death rate, which has increased by 4.5% on last week’s figures. The figure refers to the deaths occurring within 28 days of a positive test, which this week reached 3,222.
In London, the total deaths within 28 days of a positive test has reached 7,051, the second highest region in the country after the North West, where deaths have surpassed 10,000.
Eastlondonlines has localised government statistics to focus in our our boroughs of Hackney, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Croydon. Tower Hamlets has the highest figure of these 4 boroughs for people who have tested positive for coronavirus, with 6,675 cases in total.
This is closely followed by Croydon with 6,059 cases, and Hackney and the City of London with 5,299 cases. Lewisham has the lowest reported figure for positive tests, with 4,230 since recording began. And, in the second part of our series, read the stories of just some of the local NHS workers who have died during the pandemic here