Ministers were warned today that Londoners’ lives will be at risk if the capital suffers Covid-19 testing shortages in the months ahead.
Sadiq Khan issued the alarming warning after weeks in which people in the city have struggled to get a test swiftly.
The Mayor of London stressed that without sufficient testing the health authorities could not have “a clear picture of who is carrying this awful disease”.
He told The Evening Standard: “Testing capacity was taken away from London last month and is currently below the England average of 150 people tested per 100,000 per day.
“Given London’s size, population and complexity there is a strong argument for testing to be significantly above national levels to control the virus effectively.
“It beggars belief that six months into this crisis, the Government still does not have a grip on one of the fundamental ways to control the spread.
“Any further failure to increase testing across the capital risks lives with winter approaching.”
Testing in London was cut from 90,000 in mid-August to 65,000 last month, as capacity was diverted to hotspots in the North, but has recently increased and more local tests are now available.
Ministers have vowed to increase testing capacity from around 250,000 to 500,000 a day by the end of the month.
However, demand is expected to rise significantly as more people get respiratory illnesses in the autumn and winter.
The daily number of new Covid cases has risen to around 1,000 a day in the capital, though this is considerably below the rate in some northern cities including Manchester and Liverpool.