Covid-19: In parts of London one in three tests are returning positive - find out your area’s positivity rate

Amid record-breaking daily Covid infection figures, 10 London boroughs are in the top 20 areas in England with the highest positivity rates.

More than one in three people in some parts of London who took PCR tests in the run up to Christmas have Covid-19, putting the positivity rate at the highest level on record.

The capital, which has become the epicentre of the Omicron variant, had 27.4% of people test positive in the week up to Christmas Eve.

This was the highest level across England’s regions.

And in Barking and Dagenham, the positivity rate hit a whopping 34.1% - which was the highest rate in England.

Overall, 10 London local authorities featured in the top 20 areas in the country with the highest positivity rates.

These were:

  • Barking and Dagenham (34.1%)
  • Havering (32.8%)
  • Bexley (32.6)
  • Lewisham (31.4)
  • Greenwich (31)
  • Newham (31)
  • Croydon (30.9%)
  • Bromley (29.8%)
  • Southwark (29.8%)
  • Sutton (29.6%)

And the rate in 15 London boroughs hit record highs.

As you can see on LondonWorld’s interactive map, the areas with higher positivity rates tend to be in south and east London.


While in the more affluent boroughs to the west, the rates are lower.

Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster were the boroughs with the lowest rate of people testing positive at 20%.

Across England, one in five people who took PCR tests in the run up to Christmas turned out to have Covid, putting the national positivity rate at the highest level on record.

The latest UK Covid dashboard figures show 22.4% of people who took a PCR test in the week to December 24 got at least one positive result.

Duplicate results for people who took more than one test are not counted.

England’s figure is the highest rate since 1 May 2020 when comparable records began, surpassing the previous peak of 18.3% last January.


While the rate was higher before 1 May, Public Health England has said the figures then were not comparable as mass testing for the general public had not been fully rolled out.

It comes amid reports government officials are weighing up a return to the ‘rule of six’ in the new year for social mixing, as cases continue to soar across the country.

The positivity rate has climbed rapidly since the start of December, when it was at 9.6%.

The rate is used to measure the true scale of infection, as an overall increase in cases could be caused by more tests being carried out.

An increase in testing would also return a proportionately higher number of negative results if the virus was not running rampant in communities. A high positivity rate indicates widespread infection.

Previously the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that a positivity rate of 5% is the threshold for determining if a pandemic is under control.


England has not been below this level since 27 June. Every council area had a higher rate at the latest count.

The 5% benchmark was set long before effective vaccines were developed.

At that point WHO advised that policymakers should only consider lifting restrictions if the rate was below this point for two weeks. It has not stated whether vaccines affect the benchmark.