London's second wave of coronavirus had already started to slow down before the national lockdown forced workers to stay at home and high street shops to pull down the shutters, official data suggests.
More than half of the capital's 32 boroughs — including the three hotspots of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kingston upon Thames — saw infections fall in the week ending October 30.
The city's overall infection rate also declined from 152 to 146 cases per 100,000 people over the same period, according to weekly data from Public Health England.
The stark figures raise questions over whether London and its nine million residents could have been spared a second lockdown, had over-zealous officials kept their fingers off the panic button for another more week.
Officials possess only two weeks of accurate infection data from when the city's Tier Two restrictions — banning households mixing indoors — were imposed. But experts say it can take at least three weeks before it becomes clear whether the restrictions have driven down the rise in infections.
Liverpool, Lancashire and Manchester — all previously under the toughest Tier Three curbs — also saw sharp falls in infection rates, sparking suggestions the Government's knee-jerk reaction came too soon and should have been delayed. Boris Johnson even admitted yesterday that the Tiers were working before the crunch vote.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said 'thanks to the efforts of Londoners we are seeing initial signs that the increase in infections across the capital has started to slow down' but he warned cases still remained high and the number of patients in hospital continues to rise. Data shows there are currently only 990 people in hospital with Covid-19 in London, miles away from the almost 5,000 infected patients on wards at the peak of the first wave.
Conservative London mayor candidate Shaun Bailey said Mr Khan must now 'stop demanding more restrictions', warning Londoners 'won't forgive him if their favourite restaurants and businesses fail to make it through the restrictions he shouted so loudly for'.
The mayor was slammed for his over-zealous decision to push the city into Tier Two, while other regional authorities fought with the Government to negotiate concessions.
The figures come after Professor Tim Spector, lead of the Covid Symptom Study app, said yesterday he thought the UK's second wave of the virus had 'already peaked' while other experts decried the restrictions and said that it was clear Tier Three was working.
‹ Slide me ›
This slidey reveals the change in infection rates between the week October 24 to 30 (right) and the week October 16 to 23
Ealing, a former hotspot of infections in the capital, recorded the fifth biggest fall in the number of infections
London has 990 people in hospital with coronavirus at present. This is miles away from the almost 5,000 people in hospital with the disease at the peak of the first wave
Kingston upon Thames
Kensington and Chelsea
Hackney and City
Richmond upon Thames
As many as 19 out of London's 32 boroughs recorded declines in their number of new infections in the week ending October 30, according to the Department of Health's coronavirus dashboard.
Kingston-upon-Thames saw the biggest drop, after the borough's infections fell by 28 per cent from 368 to 264. Their seven-day Covid-19 case rate currently stands at 148.7 cases per 100,000 people.
Hotspot Ealing recorded a 16.4 per cent decline in its number of infections, from 769 to 643. Its overall infection rate dropped to 188.1 per 100,000.
The second biggest fall in infections was in Kensington and Chelsea, where they fell 21.4 per cent, and Camden, where they fell by 18 per cent.
Only four boroughs saw their number of infections rise by more than 10 per cent in the week ending October 30, compared to 11 that saw infections drop by more than 10 per cent.
The number of tests completed in the capital has barely changed over the last few weeks, revealing that the drop in infections is unlikely due to a fall in the number of tests completed.
As many as 596 were processed every day between October 28 and 22, the latest period where data is available, compared to 608 in the week before, data from Public Health England reveals.
In four out of eight London boroughs where more tests were completed the number of infections dropped, adding further weight to suggestions from official figures that the city's second wave is slowing down.
A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said: 'Thanks to the efforts of Londoners we are seeing initial signs that the increase in infections across the capital has started to slow down, however cases remain high and the number of patients in hospital and on ventilators continues to rise.
'That’s why it’s crucial that all Londoners play their part and follow the Government’s latest restrictions. We must follow the public health guidance if we are to bring R below one again, reduce case numbers and protect the NHS.
'The Mayor urges Londoners to keep doing all they can