Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

New London lockdown 'in days' with people told to work from home can't be ruled out, Matt Hancock warns

MATT Hancock today could not rule out a London lockdown within days – with workers being told to stay away from the office.

The Health Secretary said he has spoken with Mayor Sadiq Khan over the weekend about what action is needed in the capital.

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Asked if London office employees could be advised to work from home from some point next week, Mr Hancock told Times Radio: "Well, I wouldn't rule it out."

Such a move would be in contrast to the Government's recent messaging, which has been urging people to get back to their offices following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

It comes as Sadiq Khan is urging ministers to extend the latest regional restrictions – including ordering bars and restaurants to close at 10pm – to cover the capital as well.

He has reportedly told Boris Johnson he wants more Londoners to work from home.

It comes as:

  • PM to unveil £10k fines for Brits who defy orders to stay at home
  • Rishi Sunak plans to freeze benefits to battle covid cost
  • Shops hit by increased demand – fuelling panic buying fears
  • Sadiq Khan warns London needs a new lockdown by MONDAY
  • UK coronavirus cases rise by 4,422 in biggest rise for 19 weeks

Mr Khan had said it is "increasingly likely" that lockdown restrictions will soon be needed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Health officials fear the virus is accelerating in the city, with previous projections putting London at "two weeks" behind other parts of Britain.

However, computer modelling now reportedly shows it is now just "two or three days behind" virus hotspots in the North.

The number of cases per 100,000 people over seven days is reported to have increased in London from 18.8 to around 25 earlier in the week.


A mayoral source said: "It's clear that cases in London are only moving in one direction, we are now just days behind hotspots in the North West and North East. We can't afford more delay.

"Introducing new measures now will help slow the spread of the virus and potentially prevent the need for a fuller lockdown like we saw in March, which could seriously damage the economy once again."  

It comes as Mr Hancock today urged “everybody” to snitch on their neighbours who don’t self-isolate – potentially landing them with a £10,000 fine.

He said he would report people if they were ignoring strict new rules to enforce self-isolation.

Mr Hancock told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme that the “nation faces a tipping point”.

When asked if he would report a neighbour flouting the rules to the authorities, he said: “Yes, and everybody should."

He then told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "I'm not in this for a popularity contest. I'm in this to keep the country safe."


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