Sadiq Khan has warned that it is “inevitable” the capital will pass a “trigger point” to be placed under tier two lockdown restrictions in the next few days after a rise in coronavirus cases in London.
The London mayor told Sky News today that “all the indicators” suggested stricter rules would need to be implemented in the city and said any measures should be applied across the whole of Greater London rather than to specific boroughs.
Asked whether the city’s five hardest-hit local authorities – Richmond, Hackney, Ealing, Redbridge and Harrow – needed specific restrictions, Khan said: “I’ve been working closely with councils across London.
“We have 33 if you include the City of London. We’re keen to go as one because we can see the complexities and the confusion caused by some boroughs having additional restrictions, other boroughs having less.
“Many Londoners work in one borough, live in another borough, study in another borough, go to a restaurant in another borough. So we’re really keen to go as one city. And across our city, you mentioned the numbers in those five boroughs, but the average over the last seven days is about 90 per 100,000.
“All the indicators I have: hospital admissions, ICU occupancy, the numbers of older people with cases, the prevalence of the disease, the positivity are all going the wrong direction. Which means, I’m afraid, it’s inevitable over the course of the next few days London will have passed a trigger point to be in the second tier.”
On testing in the capital, he added: “We were very angry that between August and September the government reduced the amount of testing taking place in London by about 43%.
“So the numbers we have for testing aren’t very accurate but we do know notwithstanding that they have been going up in regards to positive cases in our city. We’ve seen in the last six days a 50% increase in positive cases.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he is keen for any further #coronavirus restrictions to be applied across the city, as opposed to individual boroughs.
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) October 13, 2020
The government announced a tiered lockdown system on Monday. Under the new approach, areas in the lowest tier would follow the current national guidelines while those in higher tiers would face more severe restrictions.
For regions placed under the second tier of the system, all mixing between different households and bubbles indoors is prohibited but people are allowed to socialise outside if the ‘rule of six’ is followed.
Responding to the new system in the Commons on Monday, Labour leader Keir Starmer told MPs that he is “deeply sceptical that the government actually has a plan to get control of this virus”.
He added that the “serial failure” of the Prime Minister to meet the Covid commitments he has made, combined with repeated leaks to the media, has “fatally eroded public confidence just when we need it most”.
London MP, representing Ilford South, Sam Tarry wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier today demanding that the government implement a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in the capital to stop the spread of the virus.
This would mean a complete lockdown for a fortnight. Implementing a national circuit-breaker lockdown was revealed on Monday evening to be the preferred option of the government’s SAGE committee to combat a second spike.