Hospital admissions in London and south-east England have fallen for the first time after rising steadily since throughout December, figures show.
The seven day-averages for new hospital admissions in London and the south-east were 846 and 650 respectively on 10 January, according to NHS data, down slightly from the previous day.
However, more data is required to determine whether this represents a turning point, and data from NHS England shows the number of admissions is still rising in England’s five other regions.
A total of 3,571 people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in England were reported for 10 January. This is a slight drop from the record number of 3,967 admissions reported for 6 January, but still higher than the peak of the first week of the virus in April.
Average admissions across England in the week to 10 January stood at 3,705. This rolling seven-day average has risen continuously since early December with the exception of Christmas Day.
The spread of the more highly transmissible new variant, which has driven infection rates across the country but has hit London and the south-east particularly hard, has left hospitals struggling to cope.
The slight deceleration of numbers of people being hospitalised in London will come as welcome news to NHS leaders, who had warned that the capital’s hospitals were on the brink of becoming overwhelmed. However, the 734 people admitted to hospital in London recorded for 10 January, while down from a record 977 on 6 January, is still among the 20 busiest days recorded since the start of the pandemic, according to the Health Service Journal.
On Tuesday morning, 3,175 people in England were on ventilators, according to the same figures.