London didn't, in fact, have zero coronavirus cases on Monday, new figures show

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
It was widely reported there were no new coronavirus cases in London on Monday, but this was incorrect. (PA via Getty Images)

London did not go a whole day without any new coronavirus cases earlier this week – as has been widely reported.

On Wednesday, at least six national news outlets reported there were no new cases in the capital on Monday.

The reports quoted data available to download from the government’s coronavirus information portal.

At that point on Wednesday, the government’s data did indeed say there were zero “daily lab-confirmed cases” in London on Monday.

However, this figure is incorrect – and there were in fact new COVID-19 cases in the capital on that day.

Why is this?

It’s because the government’s data is constantly updated – though there is no mention of this on the spreadsheet.

As a result, the number of new cases for London on the government’s latest data spreadsheet had been updated to 14.

Like London, the East of England region also had an initial figure of zero, but this increased to 15 in the latest data.

Here are screenshots showing the contrasting figures...

The government's coronavirus cases data for Monday, from a data download made available on Tuesday. (gov.uk)
The government's coronavirus cases data for Monday, from a data download made available on Wednesday. (gov.uk)

The Department of Health had this to say:

A spokesman said: “Lab-confirmed positive cases are attributed to the day the first specimen was taken from the person being tested (the specimen date).

“New cases are reported each day, but the dates they originate from cover the previous few days.

“Because of this, there are few cases reported for the most recent date on the chart, but this does not mean the epidemic is tailing off.

“Data for recent days are constantly being revised as more information becomes available.”

This means Monday’s figure of 14 new cases in London could increase again in the coming days.

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