There were only eight Covid patients in intensive care at Queen's and King George hospitals this week, according to the latest NHS data.

It marks a significant drop in the number of coronavirus patients suffering from severe symptoms across the two east London hospitals, with critical care capacity now down to 76 per cent.

By comparison, in mid-January, there were 57 people in critical care at the hospitals in Romford and Goodmayes.

The number of weekly deaths, up to Wednesday (February 23), have also continued to fall, with 28 people dying having tested positive for the virus in the past four weeks.

In the past week, some 185 Covid patients have recovered and been discharged, while 103 people remain at the hospitals with the virus.

In a letter to stakeholders this week, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) chief executive Tony Chambers said "happier days are ahead".

He wrote: "As the recent cold snap of weather disappears and we start to enjoy brighter, warmer days in the build-up to spring, let’s take this positivity forward as we continue in our battle against Covid.

"With the encouraging news that circa 17.5 million people have now received their first jab, more than 15,000 of whom have been at our vaccination hubs, we must remember that happier days are ahead of us.

"However, while we are seeing a slow but steady reduction in the number of Covid patients we are treating, it is crucial that we do continue to adhere to the lockdown measures currently in place at this critical time."