A sharp increase in coronavirus cases has left Barnet with the seventh–highest infection rate in London, an analysis of official figures shows. 

The borough’s rate of new Covid-19 cases in the seven days to October 2 was 70 per 100,000 people – up from 37.9 during the previous week. 

It follows a clear upward trend in the rate of infections since the first week in August, when Barnet saw only eight cases per 100,000 people. 

The PA News Agency analysis is based on figures from Public Health England published on the Government’s online coronavirus dashboard. It reveals Redbridge had the capital’s highest infection rate in the seven days to October 2, with 93.7 cases per 100,000. 

Rate of Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people - top 10 London boroughs   Source: Public Health England

While London has been placed on a Government watchlist as an area of concern, the infection rate in Barnet and other boroughs remains below that of areas that have been subject to local lockdowns. Manchester recorded 529.4 cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 2, while Liverpool saw 478.1.

The figures come after Chancellor Rishi Sunak played down suggestions the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which offered cut-price meals at participating restaurants throughout August, may have contributed to the recent increase in cases.  

Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Mr Sunak said the spread in the UK “is pretty much in sync with what’s happening around the world in second waves” and cautioned against “jumping to simplistic conclusions”. 

Rate of Covid-19 infections in Barnet since August 1   Source: Public Health England

Dr Tamara Djuretic, director of public health for Barnet Council, updated councillors on the borough’s coronavirus infection rate during a meeting of the health overview and scrutiny committee on Monday. 

She said: “While discussions are ongoing in terms of potential additional measures in London, in Barnet we are focusing on testing, thinking about community engagement and enforcement, and preparing for enhanced contact tracing.”   

Dr Djuretic told the meeting around 20 of the borough’s schools had reported coronavirus cases, but health chiefs did not think the virus had spread within schools.  

“In terms of care settings, we have had four care settings in the last week with positive cases or staff, but they are all asymptomatic and only picked up in the overall screening, which is really good news so far,” Dr Djuretic explained. “We have had a few incidents connected to places of worship.”   

A local coronavirus testing site opened on September 29 at Watling Community Centre in Orange Hill Road, Edgware. There are also four mobile testing units that visit locations in the borough, and Dr Djuretic said health chiefs are considering adding Middlesex University as one of the sites to be visited.