Harrow Council could be forced to take action – including managing a potential local lockdown – if Covid-19 cases rise to above 50 per 100,000 residents.

A report presented to the council’s cabinet last week outlined its plan for managing a localised outbreak of the virus.

Cllr Graham Henson, leader of Harrow Council, noted the borough had moved into an “area of national concern” as cases rose above 20 per 100,000 residents.

The council plans to increase access to testing to gauge an accurate picture of the situation in Harrow, while it has reiterated its message that residents must remain vigilant.

“Covid-19 has hit our communities hard, and it is quite clear that it’s not gone away,” Cllr Henson said.

“We’re not in a crisis situation at this moment in time – it’s about being prepared.

“The main challenge is to maintain and extend the behaviour patterns that have reduced the number of infections in Harrow – things like being aware of social distancing, wearing face masks, and hand washing.”

Cllr Henson added it was vital to work with voluntary and community sector, as well as faith groups, to spread the message about how everyone can help tackle the spread of the virus.

He said: “There is that concern around people ignoring guidance – going into shops without face masks, meeting in large groups regularly.

“Hopefully we don’t see that as much in Harrow compared to some places we’ve seen on the television, but it does happen, and we’ve got to reach out to those people.”

According to the report, if the situation escalated, it would follow the advice of national government as to which restrictions would be put in place to control a larger outbreak.

It added it has enforcement powers that can be used against individuals or businesses that are putting the public at risk by not following government guidance but, at present, does “not have powers to impose wide scale closures or close essential infrastructure”.

Last week, the Government announced that, from today (September 14), indoor and outdoor gatherings must be limited to six people – though places of work and worship, for example, are exempt provided safety measures are enacted.