With a ‘second-wave’ of escalating coronavirus cases across the UK anticipated by scientists in the coming days and weeks, Kingston borough is now bracing for that impact even as it seeks to address the scars left by its first encounter with the virus.

Confirmed cases in the borough are steadily increasing, signalling similar if slightly slower trends than many other local authorities in London.

According to the latest data provided by Public Health England (PHE), at least 10 new cases were confirmed in Kingston between September 12-September 18.

Four of those were reported in the Surbiton North postcode, while six more cases came in the Kingston Hill and the Kingston Vale and Coombe Hill postcodes.

More cases are being confirmed even as the national picture on testing points to big failures and disorder at the organizational level.

On Wednesday (September 23), RBK’s Director of Public Health Iona Lidington told the Surrey Comet that it remained an area of concern.

“Covid-19 test availability for the public continues to be a concern, with people finding it hard to book a test either on-line or by calling 119,” she said, recommending anyone with symptoms to seek a test anyway.

“It is more vital than ever that anyone with Covid symptoms - a new persistent cough, a high temperature, a change or loss of taste or smell - self isolates and keeps trying to book a free test as soon as possible,” Liddington added.

“I have been seeking reassurances from Government...that the testing situation will be rectified as soon as possible.

“We are fortunate in Kingston that we have a Regional Testing Centre based at Chessington World of Adventures. We also have a Mobile Testing Unit at the Cattle Market car park two days a week, currently Tuesdays and Fridays, and we are working with partners to host a new walk-in testing site based at the rear of Surrey County Hall which will be opening soon,” she pointed out.

Government experts have said if the current rise in case numbers continues, higher death rates will likely follow. Kingston won praise for its ability to keep deaths in the borough down by using the Teddington Memorial Hospital to discharge patients who tested positive to protect care home residents.

Liddington said among the borough’s preparations for the second wave were well underway at that the renewed use of the Teddington Memorial Hospital was one option RBK were considering in their preparations with the NHS South-West London’s Clinical Commissioning Group.

“Kingston Council and our NHS partners have learned a huge amount from the first wave of the pandemic, and we will be using this learning in the next phase of the pandemic,” she said.

“We all have a really important role to play in keeping each other safe over the coming months,” Liddington added, urging people to wash their hands regularly, wear face masks and physically distance from strangers to help slow the spread.