Covid-19: London on ‘high alert’ from Saturday after cases surge
London will move to ‘high alert’ from Saturday – the second of the three-tier system introduced by the Boris Johnson government earlier this week – as new Covid-19 cases surged across various boroughs of the British capital.
“Things will get worse before they get better”, health secretary Matt Hancock said in the House of Commons, announcing new curbs in Essex, York and other areas.
This means half of England’s population is now under local lockdowns.
MPs and local leaders from Manchester were in intense talks with Downing Street over placing the Greater Manchester area in the highest Tier 3 level, which would mean closing pubs, restaurants and other venues, and other restrictions. Liverpool and some areas of Leicester are already under toughest curbs in Tier 3.
Hancock said the pandemic has forced “some of the most difficult choices any government has to make in peacetime”.
“We make these decisions with a heavy heart with the sole aim to steering our nation through troubled waters. Things will get worse before they get better but I know that there are brighter skies and calmer seas ahead.”
Reiterating Labour’s call for another UK-wide lockdown, London mayor Sadiq Khan said it could save thousands of lives and drive the virus down to manageable levels: “We’re at a critical moment in our fight against Covid-19 in London. The virus is spreading rapidly in every corner of our city.”
“We’ll soon reach an average of 100 cases per 100,000 people – with a significant number of boroughs already over that threshold. Hospital admissions are up. More patients are going into Intensive Care Units. And – sadly – the number of Londoners dying every day is increasing again.”
As of Wednesday night, there were 19,724 new cases and 137 deaths across the UK in hospitals and care-homes. In London, there were 1722 new cases and 12 deaths.