Thursday 26 March 2020


Health minister Nadine Dorries pictured with NHS Staff (prior to outbreak)

A news correspondent outside Parliament said recently that there's a "lot of Covid-19 around Westminster".  He wasn't wrong.  Since then two more MPs have tested positive and the borough has become one of the worst affected areas in the country.  The following figures are sourced from the NHS.

Number of confirmed cases per local authority in England (as of 25/03/20)

Hampshire 251
Birmingham 228
Lambeth 212
Southwark 209
Brent 192
Wandsworth 184
Sheffield 174
Croydon 163
Westminster 152
Hertfordshire 147

As the most densely populated city in the country and people still cramming onto public transport on a daily basis, it's no surprise that London boroughs make up six of the top ten.  Scotland and Wales register cases per health authority rather than local authority, with south-east Wales and greater Glasgow the worst affected with more than 500 cases between them.

When it comes to the density of confirmed cases per population, the top ten is dominated by London boroughs.  In fact the only local authority outside London in the top twenty is Wolverhampton with a density of 39.3 cases per 100,000.

Confirmed cases per 100,000 population in local authority (as of 25/03/20)

Southwark 72.5
Lambeth 69.9
Westminster 69.3
Brent 61.7
Kensington & Chelsea 61.1
Harrow 60.7
Wandsworth 59.9
Merton 49.1
Croyon 44.9
Hammersmith & Fulham 43.8

Of course these are just the cases we know about.  Most people do not know they have the virus and those who develop mild symptoms are not being tested.  That is, of course, unless they're a public figure.  This controversial and mysterious aspect of the pandemic has many people questioning why they can't get the test, but the likes of Idris Elba, Nadine Dorries and Prince Charles can get it.

While this rankles a lot of people and quite rightly so, it actually provides a valuable and reassuring insight into the virus.  These cases are well documented and, so far anyway, they have provided further evidence that the virus is not a death sentence, regardless of age.

At the age of 71, Prince Charles is officially in the danger zone, but today we hear that he is at his desk in Balmoral working.  62-year-old minister Nadine Dorries returned to the Commons on Monday having already recovered from Covid-19.  Crucially, her 84-year-old mother has not only come through the virus, but was less affected by it than her daughter.

Matt Hancock welcomes Nadine Dorries back to the Commons

You may recall the despicable reaction from some on the left when Nadine Dorries was first diagnosed with Covid-19 earlier this month.  At the time we said they should be careful what they wish for and that is still relevant given the way their beloved elderly leader is gallivanting around all over London.  Despite their ill wishes towards the Tory benches, the next confirmed cases struck Labour MPs - both left-wingers.

The first MP to test positive after Dorries was Jarrow MP Kate Osborne.  She was diagnosed ten days ago, but having recovered says she is leaving self-isolation on Saturday to return to her constituency in the north east of England.  The next MP to test positive was the MP for Brighton Kemptown.  Lloyd Russell-Moyle announced the diagnosis eight days ago, but has also now recovered.  It's worth noting that Russell-Moyle is also HIV-positive, so his recovery is another promising sign.

Coronavirus sufferers Kate Osborne and Lloyd Russell-Moyle

They are surely not the only MPs who have been carrying the virus, but now that Parliament is closed for several weeks, responsible members should now return home and stay there.  Of course there will be those who won't - Jeremy Corbyn a case in point.  There is also the matter of the Labour leadership announcement a week on Saturday and it would be hard to imagine that Corbyn wouldn't be directly involved.  He would dearly love to pass on the red torch to Rebecca Long-Bailey, albeit that is now looking like a very faint possibility.

With regards to Covid-19 the cases of MPs, Royals and celebrities should give us hope, but we should also remember that the UK curve is still accelerating.  Yesterday the NHS revealed the largest daily increase in cases yet and the day before saw the most daily deaths.  While those dying from the virus are predominantly older people with underlying health conditions, news that a perfectly healthy 21-year-old died yesterday should be a stark warning to us all.  The government is not turning conference centres into makeshift hospitals for nothing...

Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.