SADIQ Khan has called for a BAN on different households meeting up in London, after the capital was today been added to the national coronavirus “watch list”
The London Mayor said the city is at a “tipping point” after a spike in cases.
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Mr Khan, who met with the PM earlier this week, told the Guardian: “One of the things that I said to the prime minister is: I think we should be following what’s happening around the country and stopping social mixing of households, and I say that with a heavy heart.”
He added: “When I spoke to the prime minister on Tuesday for the first time since May, he was surprised that I was saying there’s a problem in London, and that I was asking for additional measures.
“If you go too late, we will already be in a north-east, north-west, Birmingham-type situation. You’ve got to go early, particularly in the absence of testing.”
The Labour mayor accused the PM of “not understanding” what his scientific advisers were saying.
He said: “I think he’s got it wrong again with this announcement.”
London Councils which represents all 33 boroughs, said it is a “stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action” to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe.
No additional measures will come in for the capital yet, but putting it on the watch list means that the city will be able to get extra support – with more access to tests and other help.
If Londoners have Covid-19 symptoms they should apply for a test at nhs/coronavirus or call 119.
It’s not clear yet if the whole of the city will be added to the watchlist, or just certain boroughs with higher rates of infection.
It came as:
- 620 new cases of the virus were recorded in the capital yesterday – double the numbers of the start of the week
- The ONS study said there were 9,600 new infections across the UK in the last week
- Wigan was put under extra lockdown measures including a ban on households mixing
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said today that “London is at a very worrying tipping point right now” and that ministers must “get a grip” on testing to ensure more people don’t die.
He added: “We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions, and patients in ICU.
“The near collapse of test and trace and the resurgence of the virus means new measures to slow its spread were absolutely necessary.
“Testing capacity was diverted away from London in the last two weeks to other national hot spots and weekly testing numbers are now down 43 per cent in the capital since mid-August.
“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and it is why London has been added to the Government’s coronavirus watchlist as an area of concern. Ministers simply have to get a grip.
“It’s vital that testing capacity is increased immediately in London and focused in the areas it is needed most. Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.”
Testing from London has been diverted away from the capital to other lockdown areas in recent weeks, leaving people unable to get their hands on a kit.
People have been told to go as far away as Aberdeen to get their hands on one.
The Department for Health is due to publish an updated list of the watch list later today.
STAY HOME THIS WEEKEND
Sian Berry, Green Party co-leader and London Mayor candidate, advised people stay away from bars and restaurants in the capital in the coming days.
She said: “The news today that Public Health England has added London to its list of areas of concern, using estimates from other data, shows what a crucial time this is, and how all our actions can make a difference.
“The 10pm closing time for bars and restaurants has already led to crowded scenes on public transport that worry me greatly.
“My strong advice to Londoners today is to avoid going out in the next few days unless you have to, and find other ways to see friends and family.
“If you have a choice to reduce exposure or put off risky activities, it could make all the difference.”
Today Cardiff, Leeds, Wigan and Swansea all had new restrictions announced as they were plunged into local lockdowns.
People in the North of England will be banned from household mixing, local leaders revealed.
And in Cardiff and Swansea people will be subject to orders not to travel out of the area unless it’s for an essential reason like work or school from Sunday at 6pm.
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being.
The news will affect 350,000 in Cardiff and 250,000 in Swansea.
The town of Llanelli will also face new restrictions from 6pm tomorrow.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething, said: “We’re acting to protect people’s health and to try and break the chain of transmission and stop the situation from getting worse.
“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”
Local restrictions are already in place in six other areas of South Wales – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly borough, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Newport.
And people in Birmingham, Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Newcastle, County Durham and Tyne and Wear also face lockdown measures too.
The news came after the UK Government issued a joint statement alongside the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish administrations on the virus, saying “the threat remains all too real”.
The statement added: “Cases are rising rapidly and we must take action to stop an exponential increase that could overwhelm our health services and aim to bring R back below 1 while minimising the impact on the economy and society.”
Following all four corners of the UK speaking at a COBRA meeting earlier this week they jointly agreed to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level while striving to return life to as normal as possible for as many people as possible.
And the leaders issued a stark warning that it’s up to everyone to take responsibility to stop the spread of the virus and keep the nation safe.
It added: “The ongoing fight against Covid-19 will continue to require much from us all, wherever we live.
“We ask that everybody endeavours to adhere to the rules and advice designed for our safety, as this is the only way to keep the virus suppressed, and make further progress on the path back to normality.
“Failing to do so will put everyone else at risk. So in the weeks and months ahead we must carry on pulling together to protect and care for those most at risk, and keep the virus under control.”
Advice & measures for Londoners on stopping the spread
BORIS Johnson revealed new rules for England on Monday, including:
1. Office workers who can work from home are being asked to do so.
2. All pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways.
3. All hospitality venues must close at 10pm.
4. More people must wear face coverings – staff working in retail; all users of taxis and private hire vehicles; and staff and customers in indoor hospitality venues – except when seated at tables to eat or drink.
5. In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, government’s Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations.
6. From Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions.
7. The rule of six is being extended to all adult indoor team sports.
8. Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not be able to reopen from 1 October.
9. Stronger penalties for failing to adhere to government restrictions: a fine of up to £10,000 for businesses that break the rules and the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.
Wigan is due are due to face extra measures in the coming days, MP Lisa Nandy confirmed today.
It means people in the area face a ban on mixing from tonight onwards, where they won’t be able to see family and friends living in other homes.
Local MPs had discussions with ministers this morning over imposing new rules on the area.
Leeds politicians also said they would face new measures.
Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: “What we are trying to do is give a simple message – you shouldn’t really mix with other households.”
He said about 780,000 people will come under the new measures, which could be in place through the winter.
He added: “I think we know from the experience of Leicester, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire that when these restrictions are brought in they do not tend to be lifted after a week or two.”