London's Omicron wave has peaked but is the worst really over?

"The peak itself is thought to have occurred just before the New Year," said Professor Fenton


London's public health director delivered a glimmer of good news about Omicron infections in the capital but also warned against complacency.

Professor Sir Kevin Fenton told the London Assembly the number of Covid cases peaked shortly before the New Year.

And, in a further promising sign, cases were falling in all age groups, including the over 60s.

"The peak itself is thought to have occurred just before the New Year consistent with what we saw in last year's peak of the winter period," Kevin Fenton told the London Assembly.

"And since the New Year we've been seeing gradual declines in case rates initially in all ages and then more recently we've begun to see a downturn in case rates in those aged over 60," he added.

Latest figures also show NHS hospital staff absences due to Covid have fallen week-on-week with the largest percentage in London.

In the capital 4,167 hospital staff were ill with coronavirus or having to self-isolate on January 9, down 13% on the previous week of 4,765.

However the figure is still more than three times the number at the start of December of 1,174.

People arrive at a Covid 19 testing centre in Leytonstone, east London

Despite the drop in infections Professor Fenton warned cases in London were still "phenomenally high".

"Although there is a temptation to say the worst is behind us that might be true on terms of the peak," Professor Fenton said.

"However, I'd like to draw the committee's attention to the fact that our rates are still phenomenally high.

"They are in excess of 1,500 per 100,000 people. That's more than four times higher than where we were before the wave started," he added.

Speaking to LBC Radio London mayor Sadiq Khan said: "Because of the huge sacrifices Londoners have made, because record numbers are getting the booster and the vaccine, we're seeing a reduction in the number of positive cases on a daily basis, we're seeing a reduction in the case rate in our city, we're seeing a reduction in admissions to hospital and we're seeing a reduction in those on ventilators but the case rate's still too high."