London could be plunged into tier 2 lockdown ‘this week’

Londoners could be banned from meeting friends indoors within days after the city’s infection rate doubled in just two weeks.

The capital was placed in a tier one lockdown on Monday, meaning locals escaped being immediately placed under tighter restrictions – but Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned ‘this could change very quickly’.

Speaking on Monday evening, the politician said London could be plunged into a tier two lockdown ‘potentially this week’,

A spokesman for Mr Khan told MailOnline: ‘The mayor met with London Leaders today to examine the latest data on the spread of the virus in the city and to discuss the Government’s new national alert system.

‘The virus is now spreading very quickly in every corner of London. The number of cases is rapidly increasing and all the indicators we look at are moving in the wrong direction.

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‘As of today, London is at ”medium” in the government’s new alert levels. However, Londoners should understand that this could change very quickly – potentially even this week.’

Anyone living in an area under tier two of the system is prohibited from mixing with other households indoors.

Residents can mix outside – as long as the ‘rule of six’ is observed – but are asked to only make essential journeys and not travel too far outside the area, unless it is absolutely necessary.

If case numbers continue to rise under tier two, an area could move into tier three which forces pubs to close, bans households from meeting indoors or in gardens and bans non-essential travel outside the affected area.

Mr Khan has cautioned further restrictions are ‘inevitable’, saying London is at ‘a very serious tipping point’.

More than 7,700 cases are being recorded in the capital every week, although the decision to change tiers is likely to be based on how many boroughs have 100 new cases per 100,000 people in a week.

Five boroughs currently have over 100 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending on October 8 – Richmond, Hackney, Ealing, Redbridge and Harrow.

Sadiq Khan asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban household visits at the end of September, claiming the city was not far behind hotspots in the north.

The mayor has said numerous times he thinks of London ‘as one city’ and believes a local lockdown should cover the entire capital, not just boroughs.

It comes as new documents reveal the Government was told by influential scientific group SAGE to introduce a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown three weeks ago.

Professor Chris Whitty admitted yesterday tier three restrictions may not go far enough to tame the pandemic, as hospital admissions soar.

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