Doubling of Covid-19 cases in Islington sparks concern

A nurse administers a coronavirus vaccine. Covid-19 cases have risen considerably in Islington

A nurse administers a coronavirus vaccine. Covid-19 cases have risen considerably in Islington - Credit: PA

Islington’s public health director has expressed concern over a rise in Covid-19 infections in the borough.

Jonathan O’Sullivan revealed that in the week running up to June 4, the borough saw 113 Covid infections - double the numbers from the week before.

These were “overwhelmingly” adults in their 20s and 30s who he said are least likely to develop complications.

At a Town Hall meeting, he said: “Unfortunately like the rest of London we are now seeing an increase in local infections after that huge period of sustained reductions up until the end of May.

“What we are seeing is again in common with the rest of London and the country is this new more infectious Delta variant is beginning to spread within the general community.”

Quizzed about the potential impact of the ongoing Euro 2020 football tournament, O’Sullivan noted that while the chance of contracting the virus is “dramatically reduced” by being outdoors, there remains “a genuine risk attached” to socially disinhibited supporters gathering together.

No new deaths have been seen within the last six to eight weeks, with hospitalisations staying low across north central London.

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O’Sullivan reminded those present it takes two to three weeks from infections happening to track through to people being ill and needing a hospital.

Raising another concern, Cllr Gary Heather said: “On the buses there are at least half the people not wearing a mask or not wearing them properly. However, on London Overground it is quite good, and it is probably because you come in through the station and there are lots of staff there, whereas on the bus you just have a driver. 

“Given we know about the Delta variant, clearly that is not going to bode well. We need a word with Transport for London (TfL) or whoever runs the buses to make sure they are stepping up, because it really isn’t very good at the moment. That is putting people at risk, and it spreads exponentially, so that could be an Achilles’ heel.”

The public health director “absolutely agreed”. The council is understood to be raising the issue with TfL and exploring whether the Town Hall itself could put out messaging near bus stops.