The number of Covid patients in intensive care at London’s largest health trust is in single figures for the first time since the deadly second wave swept through the capital.

As of 8am on Friday morning (April 30), Barts Health NHS Trust had seven Covid patients in critical care beds or on enhanced levels of oxygen, a spokesperson said.

Across its five hospitals in east London, 38 inpatients have received a positive virus test.

At the height of the second wave in January, around 900 people across Barts' hospitals had coronavirus and some 200 were in intensive care.

The trust said in the last year it has seen 1,821 patients die with the virus, including nine members of staff, while almost 13,000 people have recovered and been discharged.

Barts' hospitals include the Royal London and Newham.

They serve some of the areas which have been hardest hit by Covid and consistently recorded the highest infection rates in the country during the second wave.

Public health teams in the areas are now battling vaccine hesitancy among residents.

During its latest Covid update last week, Tower Hamlets Council heard the borough was still seeing around 25 Covid cases per 100,000 people.

Director of public health Dr Somen Banerjee said: “Levels are falling but they have not yet stabilised. Over the past few weeks they have been going up and down a little.

“There are still risks there, particularly with the lifting of lockdown. We are seeing a slight increase in 17 to 24-year-olds.”

He added that the borough’s largest vaccination hub at the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park was running below capacity despite having good stocks of the jab.

At its last meeting, Tower Hamlets’ health scrutiny sub-committee was told all care home residents had now been vaccinated against the virus.

However at the borough’s two largest nursing homes – Hawthorn Green and Aspen Court – just 60 per cent of staff have received their jab, the council’s director of integrated commissioning Warwick Tomsett said.