Coronavirus cases are on the rise across the country, sparking fears of a second national lockdown.
The nationwide lockdown is still being held off as the ‘last line of defence’, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, but it would follow more local lockdowns.
From today, September 18, nearly two million people living in Newcastle and the surrounding areas will be banned from mixing with other households. Pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises will also be forced to close their doors to the public between 10pm and 5am and move to table service only.
Tough new restrictions have also been announced for much of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire,
Could London be next?
London lockdown: will there be a second lockdown in the capital?
Rumours suggest there could be a lockdown and leaders have expressed concern over rising numbers, but nothing has been confirmed.
Chair of the London councils Peter John said the capital’s infection rates are doubling every two weeks yet testing capacity has been cut by a fifth.
Speaking to Times Radio he said he was ‘massively worried’ authorities will be forced to impose restrictions as cases are ‘only going in one direction and only going to speed up’.
‘We are going to see an influx of half a million students into the city and that is bound to have an impact,’ he said.
It has also been reported that London boroughs will have the power to impose their own local lockdowns, but due to the nature of workers in the capital travelling between boroughs for work, a city-wide lockdown might be more logical and easier to implement.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan today said London is just ‘two weeks behind’ other UK regions that are currently under local lockdown.
He said: ‘What we’ve seen in other parts of the country and in the North East in particular is an instruction for bars and restaurants to close at 10pm.
‘The reason for that is to minimise the amount of hours people spend socialising which can increase the risk of the virus spreading.
‘We’re looking into all possibilities in London and we’re looking to see which policies across the country are successful.’
He added: ‘According to the latest evidence I’ve seen, we’re about two weeks behind some parts of the country.
‘That’s why I’m saying to Londoners please follow the advice.’
What could the new lockdown rules for London include?
It is not known what a local lockdown would look like in London, although the idea of a curfew has been floated by some.
The Evening Standard has reportedly seen an official plan which could kick into place if the rate in the capital continues to increase.
The ‘London Epidemic Response Escalation Framework’ outlines more severe restrictions on the public, including plans to ‘reintroduce epidemic controls’, ‘mandatory masks’, ‘restrict religious gatherings’ and ‘restrict social contacts’.
If the infection rate goes over 50 cases per 100,000, the plan reportedly says a ‘local lockdown’ should be considered.
Official sources have stressed the framework was not an exact blueprint.
What’s the current number of London coronavirus cases?
The number of cases per 100,000 over seven days in the capital has shot up from 18.8 to around 25.
The total number of deaths in London hospitals of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 is 6,172, as of figures provided by the Mayor of London for the week ending September 18.
Meanwhile, the total number of deaths in London hospitals where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate stands at 242.
What other cities could go into lockdown?
London isn’t the only place which could face another lockdown – three more regions have joined the North East in imposing restrictions.
New measures will come into force from Tuesday, September 22 in Merseyside, Warrington, Halton, and Lancashire, banning people from mixing with people outside their own households or bubbles in private homes or gardens.
In the Midlands, people living in Wolverhampton and Oadby & Wigston will be banned from socialising with people outside their own homes or support bubbles in private homes and gardens from Tuesday.
In West Yorkshire, all residents from Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale will be banned from socialising with other households or bubbles in private homes and gardens.
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