ondoners were today urged to “follow all the rules” of the second lockdown to prevent the capital’s intensive care units becoming overloaded.
Mayor Sadiq Khan also warned that the Metropolitan police and council officers “will not hesitate” to crack down on mass gatherings made illegal by the new restrictions.
He launched a #LondonTogether campaign in a bid to emphasise that “solidarity and compassion” can help people to get through the month-long order to stay at home.
Mr Khan told the Evening Standard: “With covid cases still spreading in London and facing no other choice, I am today making a direct appeal to Londoners to follow all the new rules coming in today.
“I know going into lockdown will increase anxiety for many Londoners, but with hospital admissions increasing, we simply can’t afford our ICUs and hospitals to be overwhelmed with another surge in demand over the winter. Following the new rules will undoubtedly save lives and livelihoods.
“And for any groups of people who think it’s acceptable to continue to hold mass gatherings, be in no doubt the Met Police and council officers will not hesitate to take the necessary enforcement action.”
A total of 1,132 covid patients were being treated in London hospitals last night, of which 151 were on mechanical ventilation.
Barts Health, the capital’s biggest NHS trust, said 30 of its 101 covid patients were in intensive care – meaning about a fifth of its critical care capacity was being used to treat those worst affected by the virus.
Yesterday the NHS moved to its highest alert level in preparation for the total number of admissions passing the previous peak of the pandemic’s first wave. In London, a third hospital said it was having to reduce care of sick children to focus on covid.
The #LondonTogether poster campaign will go live tomorrow across 600 sites, including on the capital’s transport network.
It will have four strands:
• Encouraging all Londoners to follow the rules, including on mask-wearing, and looking out for vulnerable neighbours.
• Defending “inclusive” values in the face of attacks on science and immigrants.
• Seeking Government support to save the capital’s businesses.
• Reducing the stigma around the impact of the pandemic on mental health.
Mr Khan said it was “deeply frustrating” that a second lockdown was required because the Government declined to act on calls from its scientific advisers for a “circuit breaker” over the October half-term.
“For London’s shops and other businesses, having to close just as preparations for Christmas begins is a huge blow at the worst possible time,” he said.