New infections of Covid-19 are continuing to rise in Kingston as fears over the presence of a highly transmissible strain of the virus in south London persist.

According to Public Health England (PHE) data, the borough had one of the highest infection rates of any in London, and higher than in Hounslow where the B1617.2 strain of coronavirus first discovered in India was identified.

In the week up to May 26, Kingston's infection rate per 100,000 people was 60.8, higher than both Hounslow's (54.5) and the national average rate (28.6) over the time period.

108 new infections of Covid-19 were confirmed in Kingston in the week up to May 26, a rise of 33, or 44 per cent, on the previous week's figure.

According to PHE data on the B1617.2 variant released at the weekend, Kingston has confirmed at least five cases of the highly infectious strain (Hounslow's figure was 80).

Kingston Borough's Director of Public Health Iona Lidington described the rise in the numbers of new Covid infections in the borough as "sharp", adding:

"Please remember the life-saving behaviours of hands - face - space - fresh air.

"And please consider whether you really do need to meet up with others at this particular time - if you do, it's safer to do so outside."

While infection rates remain high in Hounslow and Kingston, another south London borough - Reigate and Banstead - reported the highest infection rate of any London borough in the week up to May 26.

According to the PHE data the borough's rate stood at 69.9 over the time period, with 104 new cases reported, a staggering increase of 83 or 395.2 per cent on the previous week's figure.

Other boroughs in the region are meanwhile witnessing sharp increases in the numbers of new cases too.

In Merton for example, new infections up to May 26 were 55, up 150 per cent on the previous figure, while in Richmond 34 new cases were reported, up 30.8 per cent.