London could be facing new restrictions on social mixing between households as early as next week.
Amid rising local coronavirus rates, the capital is on course for a clampdown unless nationwide measures succeed in slowing the spread of coronavirus, according to the London Evening Standard.
All of the city will subject be tighter rules if health officials meeting next week see a jump in cases – but new measures are not expected this week, the paper reported.
It comes as City AM suggested the capital could be hit with a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown forcing pubs, restaurants and bars to close for two weeks, alongside a ban on households mixing indoors indefinitely. Schools, shops and some workplaces are expected to be allowed to remain open.
Cases in London – which has been placed on a government watch list as an area of concern – are not thought to be as high as other parts of the country where local lockdowns are in force. However, some health experts fear that could be because low testing is masking the true scale of the problem.
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The Mayor of London has also warned that the number of patients in intensive care, hospital admissions, GP visits and 111 calls ‘are all rising’.
Sadiq Khan said: ‘London is at a very serious tipping point in the spread of the virus. The catastrophic failure of the test and trace system means that testing data is incomplete in London, so we are paying very close attention to all the health indicators including 111 calls, GP visits and hospital and ICU admissions, which are all rising.
‘We urgently need more testing in the capital so we can properly track the spread of the virus. The Government needs to get its act together.
‘I continue to urge all Londoners to do their bit to protect our city by following the rules and acting with caution.’
Certain boroughs, particularly in East London have been worse hit but officials are likely to impose measures on the whole city, because many residents regularly travel between areas.
Public Health England’s London team have expressed major concerns about the rise in cases.
Professor Kevin Fenton, the organisation’s Regional Director for the capital, warned on Saturday: ‘We are currently seeing a rising tide of coronavirus in London, with new cases increasing.
‘So now, more than ever, it’s important that we act now.’
He welcomed new measures put in place by Boris Johnson and added: ‘It really is important that we all pull together, we’ve done this before in the first wave of the pandemic and we’ll need to do this again as we approach the autumn and winter.’
Since the start of the pandemic, London has recorded 49,333 cases, which translates to 550.5 per 100,000 people, according to official figures. It has also seen 6,213 deaths – 69.3 per 100,000. Both figures are close to the average for England.
Metro.co.uk has contacted Downing Street for comment.
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