New confirmed cases of Covid-19 were up almost 50 per cent in Sutton over seven days according to new data released by Public Health England (PHE).

In the week up to October 15, the borough recorded 806 new infections of Covid-19 according to PHE.

That represented a rise of 260, or 47.6 per cent, from the previous figure, and echoed data in other south London boroughs that also showed steep rises in the number of new coronavirus infections.

Sutton's infection rate of cases per 100,000 people stood at 388, higher than several of its neighbours including Croydon (236.3) but lower than the national average of 446.2.

The PHE data furthered concerns about the rapid rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths related to the virus in recent days across the UK.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid rejected calls to implement restrictions that could alleviate the severe pressure currently impacting frontline NHS workers.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, he said the Government would not be implementing its Plan B strategy "at this point".

He instead strongly recommended vaccinations, mask wearing in indoor public spaces and regular handwashing and testing, and added:

"We’ll be staying vigilant, preparing for all eventualities while strengthening our vital defences that can help us fight back against this virus. But we cannot be complacent when Covid-19 remains such a potent threat... We’ve come so far thanks to the efforts of so many, but with winter ahead, we can’t blow it now."

Health leaders and the opposition are calling on the government to do more to help the NHS however.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Thursday: "Yesterday the Secretary of State said the pressures on the NHS are sustainable, but we have ambulances backed up outside hospitals, patients waiting hours upon hours in A&E, cancer operations cancelled and NHS staff exhausted. Has there ever been in the history of the NHS a more complacent attitude from a secretary of state as we head into winter?"

NHS England’s national medical director said Wednesday that the health service is "very, very busy indeed" at the moment.

Professor Stephen Powis told the Downing Street press conference said there are just over 6,000 patients with Covid-19 in main hospitals.

"And I anticipate that over the next week or two that number will increase because infection rates are increasing," he added. "It’s not just Covid of course, we have one eye to the flu season and we don’t know what’s going to happen with flu this year but there is a risk that we will get more flu back and it will be worse than previous years because we missed out on a season last year. There are other viruses around as well and of course we are continuing to do all that work around the recovery of our elective and routine services so it is very, very busy indeed."

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