Covid Count Being Buried in London’s Indian Boroughs to Protect New Year Bash?


Doesn’t add up: Concerns have arisen over a significant under-reporting of Covid cases in several Indian-dominated boroughs of London. Most cases are recorded on the basis of tests carried out at home that then must be reported on a government site. Reporting then leads to calls for isolation, even if that period is now reduced to seven days. That effectively would put an end to parties and a social life in the much-awaited festive season. Several health professionals have pointed to significant under-reporting in these areas.

Double whammy: Despite the under-reporting, the Wembley area had on Tuesday 1,752 cases per 100,000 people, with close to 6,000 new cases reported in the past week. But the real tally in this and other such areas is estimated to be substantially higher. Compounding the under-reporting is the understaffing at medical centres across the country over the holiday period. To top all this the government has said people can go ahead and party until the New Year, when restrictions would be reviewed. A huge rise in cases is likely by then.

Vax pop: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched a Big Conversations series of virtual meetings, aimed at promoting vaccination among the minority communities across Britain. Following a reported lower than average vaccination rate among many communities from South Asia, Sadiq Khan said: “I don’t want any Londoner to be left behind in the vaccine rollout – particularly those communities who have been so badly affected by the pandemic, with the disproportionate loss of both loved ones and livelihoods.”

Worrying signs: The number of hospitalisations and deaths in Britain is still low. On Tuesday 129,471 cases were reported, but with a relatively low 18 new deaths and 213 new hospital admissions. Doctors say there will be a time lag between the rise in cases and the rise in the numbers of hospitalisations and deaths, but that the number of serious cases is low even allowing for this time lag. There is reason to hope that Omicron will stay as mild as early reports suggest it is. But the testing time will be around the start of the New Year.

Batting for Haseeb: A lot of Indians in Britain are hoping that England opener Haseeb Hameed finds form in the Ashes series against Australia. His record has been dismal in the first three Tests, but in that, he is not unlike any other England player other than captain Joe Root. His family migrated to Britain from India. His father is from Umraj village in Bharuch in Gujarat. The family is now among a large number of Gujarati Muslims settled in Bolton in north England.

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