Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

London lockdown: New COVID rules ‘inevitable’ – Sadiq Khan ‘alarmed’ at rapid virus spread

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Londoners could be banned from household mixing to stop the spread of coronavirus if the capital city moves from tier one to tier two, according to Sadiq Khan. There are as many as 45,000 new COVID infections in England each day, the largest study on the prevalence of the coronavirus in the population said on Friday, adding that a resurgence in the north of the country could be replicated elsewhere in weeks. But cases are doubling about twice as fast in the North West, Yorkshire and the West Midlands as for the whole of England, according to the largest COVID-19 study of its kind.

Speaking to LBC, Mr Khan said: “We are at a very serious tipping point. The virus is accelerating in every part of London.

“My prediction is there will be more restrictions being brought in because we don’t want to see in October and November what we saw in March and April.

“The spread of the virus is accelerating in every part of London and what I don’t want is people living in one borough being complacent…if it’s not as prevalent in their borough.”

He added that further restrictions would not be based on boroughs and would be London-wide.

Mr Khan said he has been working with Health Secretary Matt Hancock on measures to implement in London.

He said: “You’ve got three buckets, level one the least restrictions, level one the most – similar to lockdown-type measures.

“What’s clear to me is that it’s inevitable there will be additional restrictions in London.

“What we are discussing as ‘One London’ is what we think the right level should be and work with government to make sure we have the right level there.”

The London Mayor said Boris Johnson’s announcement next week will apply to London as well.

Mr Johnson is battling to avert a second wave of COVID-19 with local lockdowns, but the study suggests that the number of daily infections could far exceed the 17,540 reported on Thursday.

The study by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI showed that 1 in 170 people in England had the virus between September 18 and October 5, with 45,000 new infections each day.

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It also found an eight-fold increase in infections among people aged over 65, compared to a previous report covering August 20 to September 8.

Paul Elliott, of Imperial’s School of Public Health said: “Our robust findings paint a concerning picture of the growing epidemic across England.

“While certain areas are worse affected, if left unabated then infection trends will follow nation-wide and could lead to high levels of unnecessary death and illness from the disease.”

Imperial’s is the country’s largest population study on COVID infection rates, with 175,000 volunteers tested. Earlier on Friday, the Office for National Statistics found that daily cases had doubled in a week.

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