A new online tool has been developed to show the vulnerability of regions and boroughs to the Covid-19 outbreak, and the level risk of a second spike of the virus across south London.

The instrument, developed by Oxford University, highlights the number of people who face hospitalisation should the infection rate spike once again, with regions such as Bromley and Sutton coming out the worst.

The Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science dashboard is designed to add to the government's test and trace programme by highlighting which regions and local areas are most likely to suffer disproportionate infections and hospital demand if an outbreak occurs.

It combines data about groups known to be especially vulnerable to Covid-19, using factors such as age, social deprivation, population density, ethnicity and hospital capacity.

Given the constantly evolving situation, it also allows users to adjust for changing infection rates and hospital resource levels.

On of the key features of the tool is a dashboard showing a map of each region's risk of hospitalisation per 1,000 people based on age and hospital capacity when the rate of infection is low and close to zero.

Across south London, Bromley ranked the highest for 'risk of hospitalisation (joint with Dartford), but with the low infection rate this is just 2.3 per 1,000.

Bexley and Richmond were shortly behind, with 2.2 per 1,000, Sutton with 2.1, Croydon 2.0, and Merton 1.9.

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These are all above the London average of 1.8, but are relatively average when compared to the rest of the UK average, so are not high-risk.

Greenwich and Lewisham with 1.7, and Wandsworth with 1.6 (the lowest) were judged to be lower risk, with some of the UK's lowest figures.

When the provisional infection rate is raised to 1 and cases spike, the risk of hospitalisation jumps up, but across south London the level of infection does actually remain relatively low when compared to the rest of the UK.

Across south London, Bromley and Bexley in the south east had the highest rate per 1,000, with 76.6 and 73.6 respectively.

Both are higher than the London average of 61.6, but are not particularly high for the UK, and are relatively low-risk.

In Lewisham its 56.6, Greenwich 57.6, Wimbledon 64.3, Croydon 67.2 and in Sutton 71.3.

The risk per 1,000 was still lowest lowest in Wandsworth, with 54.7.

Another feature of the tool is to predict the excess demand for general care beds if the infection rate spiked past 1, effectively how many people would be at risk of hospitalisation beyond their local hospital's capacity.

Bromley again has the most 'expected excess demand' with 76.6 care beds, whilst Bexley is also high and above the London average with 73.6.

Dartford in Kent and also Richmond are also ranked highly in this category, with 75.1 and 73 respectively.

However, compared to the rest of the UK, this risk remains relatively low. For example, North Norfolk would be predicted to have an excess demand for beds of 106.3.

The figures show that these two boroughs are the most at risk in south London to viruses and a second wave of Covid-19.

In terms of excess demand, Croydon's figure is 66.6, Sutton 69.5, Wimbledon 64.3, Greenwich 57.6, Lewisham 55, and Wandsworth 53.3.

The current rate of Covid-19, released at the end of the week, largely reflects this, with Bexley currently having 4.4 cases per 100,000 population, compared to Lewisham's 0.7.

Greenwich has seen an uptake in infection, recording 2.4 per 100,000, whilst Bromley actually only recorded 1.5.

In total, there have been 33,836 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in London, with 245,483 across the whole of England.

READ MORE: Covid-19 rates rise in south east London as lockdown relaxed

Bromley has recorded 1,517 total cases, Lewisham 1,192, Bexley 1,053 and Greenwich 952.

Professor Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, said: “With additional outbreaks and second waves, thinking not only regionally, but at much smaller scale at the neighbourhood level will be the most effective approach to stifle and contain outbreaks, particularly when a lack of track and trace is in place.”

She pointed to the tool showing Harrow in London would have been a local area with an exceptionally high age-related risk of hospitalisations due to Covid-19. The Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow was, in fact, also the first to call for a national emergency due to a lack of capacity early on in the pandemic.

Mark Verhagen, lead author of the study, said: “By using our online tool, policymakers would immediately have identified Harrow as a potential hotspot of hospital demand.