'Dangerous': Covid-19 cases on track to top 500/100,000

Barking Town Hall

Barking and Dagenham is on track to hit 500 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 in the next few days, according to the council. - Credit: Ken Mears

The borough is in "a dangerous position" with rising Covid-19 cases and people need to behave sensibly until vaccines are rolled out.

That's the stark warning from town hall health chief Cllr Maureen Worby, who has said Barking and Dagenham is on track to top 500 positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people.

Cllr Maureen Worby

Cllr Maureen Worby warned people to behave sensibly. - Credit: Andreas Grieger

Cllr Worby, speaking at a council meeting on Tuesday, December 15, said: "The borough is in a dangerous position in terms of the number of cases.

"We've got to behave in an appropriate, sensible manner until the vaccine can be fully rolled out and that won't be until the spring.

"People need to understand we are going to top 500 per 100,000 within the next couple of days.

"If that happens, we will have gone from 300 per 100,000, which we thought was bad, to 500 in under a fortnight. It's absolutely frightening what's happening and people need to take this seriously."

Currently, 400 people per 100,000 are testing positive, with the borough's death toll rising. 

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The rate for the UK as a whole is 189 per 100,000, as of December 15.

Cllr Worby told council colleagues that although hospitals in the area are coping, they are "getting to that critical position".

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell advised people not to mix outside their own households this Christmas. - Credit: Andrew Brookes

Council leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said: "It's very sobering. The last week has seen a massive increase in numbers across London, across the south east.

"We are looking at numbers where our NHS will not be able to cope."

Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, reported that her team were "massively busy" last weekend with large groups of people gathering, in spite of restrictions.

"It's scary and worrying for people," she said.

Cllr Dominic Twomey went on to say that it was important not to politicise Covid-19, but that the government needed to lead by example.

He added that with Europe bringing in more severe lockdown measures and putting out a clear, simple message, the UK should follow that lead.

"Mixed messaging doesn't help from this government. That will be an ongoing factor in the rise in deaths," Cllr Twomey said.

Councillors met on the eve of London going into Tier 3 today (December 16). 

The stricter measures include not mixing indoors, in private gardens or most outdoor venues, except with your household or bubble.

People can meet in a group of up to six in other outdoor spaces, including parks, beaches or the countryside.

Shops, gyms and hairdresser's can stay open but bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must stay closed, except for deliveries and takeaways.