Richmond borough Covid-19 spike put down to university students

Suggestions Richmond has emerged as the new hotspot of Covid-19 in London have been put down to university students living outside the borough.

With cases rising from 89 to 222 in the week leading up to 5 October, Richmond borough is now at 112.1 cases per 100,000 people, the highest in London.

However, it has emerged that many of these cases are in fact university students who have been tested in places such as Manchester, Leeds and Durham.

Munira Wilson, Twickenham MP explained: “A quarter of our new cases, about 100, were from outside the area.

“This pushes up the numbers and causes panic among the local community.”

This appears to have occurred as many students, especially first year students, are still registered with their GP at home and as a result the Covid-19 data is wrongly linked back to Richmond, leading to the sharp rise in cases.

Richmond’s infection rate at 112.1 per 100,000 is significantly below the rates currently in the tier three Covid-19 hotspots, such as Liverpool, where the infection rate reaches 600 cases per 100,000.

Anything above 150 cases per 100,000 would mean moving into the ‘high’ tier of the new local Covid-19 tier system and it would appear that if things continue in the same way then Richmond borough may be moving into that category in the coming days.

But Wilson does not believe that the Government have done enough to prevent the country being in this situation.

She said: “We should not be here if they had listened to expert advice. I have no doubt it would have been kept under control.

“The R-rate was under one after lockdown and through the summer, and the government were told they needed to ensure they have testing capacity and they have not done that.”

She also said that she was open to a “circuit-breaker” type lockdown but only if the test and trace system was improved.

She added: “The only way to keep R down is to have a rigorous test, trace and Isolate system.

“The majority of tests are still not being turned around in 24 hours, tracing needs to be led by local public health experts, and isolation needs to be supported.

“A circuit-breaker must only be taken if these are dramatically improved, otherwise what is the point?

“People have given up personal, financial and health sacrifices and now we’re back to square one again.

“Sage have recommended a circuit-breaker, but there needs to be a radical overhaul of the test, trace and isolate system first.”

The Liberal Democrat has previously attacked the Government for issues with the test and trace system.

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