Coronavirus: Tougher restrictions for London 'inevitable' in 'next few days', Sadiq Khan says

Tuesday 13th October 2020 15:00 BST

"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," the London mayor said.

"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."

The capital is currently in Tier 1 of the government's three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions, which means an alert level of "medium".

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But the mayor's office has put Londoners on alert for the capital to be moved into Tier 2, with a spokesperson saying on Monday that the situation "could change very quickly - potentially even this week".

Tier 1, "medium", will cover a significant part of England and includes the current national restrictions such as the "rule of six" and the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants.

Tier 2, "high", will see people prevented from socialising with other households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants. Support bubbles will still be permitted, however.

In these areas, the rule of six will continue to apply outdoors in public spaces, as well as private gardens.

Mr Khan told Sky News that London as a whole should move into tougher restrictions, rather than adopting a "hyper-local" approach of different restrictions for different boroughs.

"We're keen to go as one as we can see the complexities and the confusion caused by some boroughs having additional restrictions and other boroughs having less," he said.

"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."

The London-wide average was 78 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the seven days up to 9 October, with the level varying across different parts of the capital.

Ealing in west London had 119 new cases, while Bexley in the southeast of the capital had the lowest number of new cases at 51.6.

Labour MP Sam Tarry, who represents Ilford South in east London, has called for a short "circuit-breaker" lockdown across London to "save lives".

Documents released on Monday revealed that a short national lockdown was recommended to the government by scientists three weeks ago.

Asked about the prospect of London being moved into Tier 2, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman did not rule this out.

"We continue to closely monitor the data in all parts of England and I think we have shown that if it's judged additional measures are necessary we haven't hesitated to act," they said.

Meanwhile, Essex County Council has asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock to move the area from Tier 1 to Tier 2, following what it said was a significant rise in cases.

Greater Manchester mayor, Labour's Andy Burnham, told Sky News earlier that he would prefer a national "circuit break" lockdown to stricter local measures.

Speaking to Kay Burley, Mr Burnham said there was "pressure" from the government for the area to be placed in the "very high" alert level, but he had "serious doubts" that the Tier 3 measures would be enough.

Tier 3, "very high", will see people banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, while bars and pubs will be closed unless they can operate as restaurants.

Alcohol could be served in pubs operating as restaurants in these areas, but only as part of a meal.

Residents will also be advised against travelling in and out of these areas, while it will be up to local politicians as to whether other leisure venues such as gyms and casinos should also close.

The Liverpool City Region is currently the only area in the "very high" alert level.

St Helens North MP Conor McGinn told Sky News that there was "no agreement" on the measures for the area with the government, instead saying they were "imposed" on the area.

The PM told his cabinet that negotiations with northern leaders are ongoing in order to move some areas into Tier 3.

Downing Street said the government has the power to "impose measures" if they continue to resist tougher restrictions.

"Calls have been taking place over the course of the weekend and yesterday and I would expect for there to be further engagement today," the PM's spokesman said.

"The government does have the ability to impose measures if it's considered that's what's needed to reduce transmission, to safeguard the NHS and to save lives."

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