Coronavirus rates have fallen to pre-Christmas levels in south east London, as the lockdown continues to have an effect.  

Prior to the third national shutdown, infection rates across all four boroughs were in excess of 1000 cases per 100,000 people.

As people in England were told to stay at home from January 6, the flow of cases steadily declined.

The latest Public Health England figures, accurate for the seven days running to January 25, are based on tests carried out in laboratories and in the wider community.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for more recent days been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

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Greenwich currently has the highest rate in south east London at 420.6 per 100,00, down from 673,4 the week before. A total of 1939 new cases were recorded.

The rate in Lewisham is slightly lower, at 382.9 per 100,000, up from 611.1 the previous week. This amounted to a total of 1869 cases.

Bexley is almost level at 382.6 per 10,000, down from 584 a week previous. A total of 1450 new cases were recorded.

Bromley remains the least affected, with a rate of 340.9 per 100,000, compared to 489.9 the previous week. A total of 1658 new cases were recorded.

The figures reflect the situation before Christmas, where rates began accelerating beyond the 500 per 100,000 mark.

Ministers have been warned lockdown restrictions have to be relaxed “very slowly, very cautiously” after scientists said vaccines must prove to be highly effective at preventing transmission to avoid a future spike in deaths.

Public Health England’s coronavirus strategy chief Dr Susan Hopkins said on Sunday measures must be eased slowly so “we can clamp down quite fast” if an increase of cases is seen.

Her comments came as preliminary research from scientists advising the Government suggested a “huge surge in deaths” will only be avoided as restrictions are eased if vaccines have a high uptake and are highly effective at blocking infection and, therefore, transmission.

The Government will next month publish its plan for easing England’s third national, with March 8 earmarked for the first relaxation, with the wider reopening of schools.