It is “increasingly likely” further lockdown restrictions will be required in London, the city’s mayor has warned – and says he does not want to wait.
Sadiq Khan said: “The prime minister has said that we are now seeing the start of a second wave of COVID-19 across the UK.
“Londoners should also know that I am extremely concerned by the latest evidence I’ve seen today from public health experts about the accelerating speed at which COVID-19 is now spreading here in London.
“This is made worse by the uncertainty caused by the lack of testing capacity in the capital.
“This afternoon I held an emergency meeting with London council leaders, the government and Public Health England to discuss the next steps.
“It is increasingly likely that, in London, additional measures will soon be required to slow the spread of the virus. We will be considering some of the measures which have already been imposed in other parts of the UK.
“I am of the firm view that we should not wait, as happened six months ago, for this virus to again spiral out of control before taking action.
“The best thing for both public health and the economy is new restrictions imposed early, rather than a full lockdown when it’s too late – but the government must urgently ensure there is a fully functioning testing system.
“I strongly urge all Londoners to be as cautious as possible over this weekend. Please think very carefully about your actions – strictly follow social distancing rules, regularly wash your hands and wear a face covering to help reduce the spread of the virus.”
Mr Khan’s comments came after Boris Johnson said the UK is “now seeing a second wave coming in”, and that it was “inevitable” that coronavirus would hit the country again.
On Friday, new confirmed daily cases of coronavirus hit 4,322 – the highest since 8 May.
Responding to Mr Khan’s comments, councillor Peter John, chairman of the cross-party London Councils group which represents all 32 boroughs and the City of London Corporation, said authorities are “alert to the ongoing situation and will not hesitate to take extra measures if necessary”.
He said: “With tighter restrictions being brought in across parts of the country, it is clear the situation around Covid-19 is worsening.
“It is essential that all Londoners pull together and take action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe.”