UK: Tougher Covid-19 restrictions to be imposed in London

16th Oct 2020
UK: Tougher Covid-19 restrictions to be imposed in London

By Karim El-Bar

 

LONDON (AA): Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on Thursday announced that the British capital will move from Tier 1 to Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions, to be effective from Saturday, and warned that the virus was “spreading rapidly in every corner” of the city.

The government announced earlier this week a new three-tier system for coronavirus restrictions. London will now be in the middle tier, known as “High”.

The restrictions mean that Londoners will be banned from meeting people from other households indoors, either at home or in a pub. They will also be advised to reduce travel via public transport where possible.

“Nobody wants to see more restrictions, but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners by myself, London council leaders and ministers,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said.

He added that action on a “national scale” was needed, and backed the call for a “short national circuit breaker”.

“As part of our discussions I’ve also made clear to Government that we need more financial support for London’s businesses, workers and public services as we face more restrictions and I will continue to make this case.”

“Given how far the virus has already been allowed to spread, and given the Government’s complete failure to get a working test, trace and isolate system in place, I believe we also need action on a national scale just as the Government’s own scientific advisors have recommended.

“That’s why I’ll continue to call for a short circuit breaker. This could save thousands of lives, drive the virus down to manageable levels and give the Government time to finally get a grip on its failing Test and Trace system.”

This mini-lockdown was proposed earlier in the week by his party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Sky News reported that a letter sent by Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, to Khan said that 250,000 jobs were at risk due to London being put in a higher tier.

Nicholls said it would be “incredibly damaging without additional financial support and urge you to work with us to secure that is in place before any changes to London’s classification is made.”

“We are looking at catastrophic business closures and widespread job losses in the capital as early as 1 November,” she said.

“The current restrictions – the 10pm curfew, the instruction to work from home and various other impositions on customers and staff – have combined to severely dampen trade, particularly in London. Across the UK, London has the lowest proportion of pubs, bars and restaurants open of any region – with one in six (16%) still closed,” Nicholls said.

She added: “Mass job losses – potentially up to 250,000 in London alone – will become unavoidable if more support is not forthcoming.”

Speaking in Parliament, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that from Saturday Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash, Chesterfield and York would all also move to Tier 2.

He defended the system of tiered local lockdowns, and rejected Labour’s calls for a national “circuit-breaker” lockdown.

The Daily Mail’s deputy political editor John Stevens tweeted: “Half of England will be living under local lockdowns from Friday night. A total of 27.7million people will be in tier two and tier three. That is 49 per cent of England’s 56.3million population.”

[Photo: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Photographer: Steve Punter/Creative Commons]

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