Coronavirus: Covid cases in Brent on the rise again warns leader

Harlesden covid testing site. Picture: Brent Council

Harlesden covid testing site. Picture: Brent Council - Credit: Archant

Covid-19 cases are on the rise again in Brent, according to the council leader.

Cllr Muhammed Butt has issued a warning that 41 people tested positive for the virus over the past fortnight.

He said: “We are all rightly worried about a second wave of the virus and the recent increase in cases, which have also been seen elsewhere across the country. With this in mind I am asking for your help to prevent a second wave of the deadly virus in Brent.

“Together, we all need to pay maximum attention to our surroundings at all times. We desperately want to avoid a situation where we cannot visit each other’s homes again.”

Data from the Office for National Statistics on July 30 revealed Brent was 11th across all of Europe for Covid deaths in the week ending April 17, behind towns in Italy and Spain. The borough saw the highest number of deaths across the UK.

Taking relative age-standardised mortality rates - which are weekly measures of excess mortality in a five-year average for people aged up to 64 - showed England had the highest peak in Europe at 69.2 per cent in the week ending April 24.

Brent’s chief executive, Carolyn Downs, has warned that the council will not be able to offer the same level of support to services in the borough if there is a second spike of Covid-19 infections.

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At an audit committee meeting on July 29 she said the council will have to “think very, very carefully” about what it can and cannot offer if a second wave hits the area. She said there would be analysis of who benefited from financial aid during the first rush of Covid-19 cases and a system of “prioritisation” put in place for any future instances.

“Our response to a second spike will be tempered by our financial position,” she said.

“At the end of the day, we can’t go bankrupt – it’s not allowed.”

According to a report presented at an earlier full council meeting, the authority is facing a funding gap of around £26.4m due to extra costs and lost income associated with coronavirus.