Southwark is among the worst London boroughs for new Covid infections, with nearly 7,800 in a week.
The borough’s 7,755 cases from December 14-21, the latest figures available before publication, put it only behind Lambeth and Wandsworth in new case numbers. Lambeth had 9,644 new infections over the same period, while Wandsworth had 9,564.
Lewisham and Greenwich had 6,600 and 5,152 new cases respectively over the same week-long period. Bromley recorded 5,752 new infections and Bexley saw 4,046.
Four people died in Southwark over the period, the same as the previous week.
Data on hospitalisations comes out slightly later. Some 37 people came into Guy’s and St Thomas’ suffering from Covid-19 over the week from December 6-December 12, an increase of 68 per cent from the previous seven days. Some 75 patients were in hospital in total by December 12. The BBC has reported that Guy’s and St Thomas’ are considering postponing non-urgent surgeries because of the Covid caseload.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people have had their booster jabs in Southwark, according to the latest available figures. Boosters are thought to be the best way of tackling the Omicron variant, as a third jab makes it much less likely that anyone infected will get seriously ill.
This lowers the amount of people who will have to go into hospital, meaning NHS staff are under less pressure.
Some 101,025 people in Southwark had had their Covid-19 booster as of last Friday (December 19), the latest NHS figures available at the time of publication. That’s about 40 per cent of adults in the borough, according to an Office for National Statistics population estimate from midway through last year, although some people aged sixteen and above can also get a booster.
Southwark’s full vaccination rate is comparable to the other inner south-east London boroughs. Lambeth has had 105,604 people get the booster, a rate of about 41 per cent. In Lewisham 94,777 people have had the booster, also about 40 per cent. In Greenwich, 91,180 have been boosted, a rate of about 42 per cent.
The vaccination rate rises for the outer south-east London boroughs are higher. Bexley has recorded 90,612 boosters, meaning about 47 per cent of adults have had all three jabs. In Bromley, 140,808 have been boosted – or 55 per cent of people over 18.
Southwark is towards the lower end of the London boroughs and slightly lower than London as a whole.
The fast spread of the Omicron variant has led to fears that new restrictions on socialising and events may soon be brought in. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday (December 21) that no new rules will be introduced before December 25 – but “we can’t rule out any further measures after Christmas.”
“We continue to monitor Omicron very closely and if the situation deteriorates we will be ready to take action if needed.”
Despite the government not cancelling events yet, many customer-facing businesses like restaurants and theatres have reported wide scale cancellations as fears about the virus spread again.
In response, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £1bn in support for hospitality and leisure businesses on Tuesday and £30m for cultural organisations. Businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to £6,000, which will be handed out by local authorities like Southwark Council over the next few weeks.