Commuters carrying a face masks or overlaying because of the COVID-19 pandemic, stroll previous a London underground tube prepare at Victoria station, throughout the night ‘rus hour’ in central London on September 23, 2020.
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LONDON — The U.Okay. government has imposed tougher coronavirus restrictions on London in an try and curb the fast unfold of the illness.
The U.Okay.’s capital metropolis will transfer to a so-called “high” alert degree from midnight on Friday, up from the present “medium” alert degree.
It means tens of millions of individuals in Europe’s richest metropolis will quickly be unable to satisfy with anyone outdoors their family or assist bubble in any indoor setting, whether or not at dwelling or in public.
The government’s tips for a “high” alert degree additionally bans folks assembly in a bunch of greater than six outdoors, together with in a backyard or different house, and says folks ought to goal to cut back the variety of journeys they make the place doable.
Health Minister Matt Hancock delivered the announcement to lawmakers within the House of Commons on Thursday, saying the virus was now spreading “exponentially” within the U.Okay., and the specter of the pandemic remained “grave and serious.”
“In London, infection rates are on a steep upward path, with the number of cases doubling every 10 days,” Hancock mentioned.
“We know from the first peak that the infection can spread fast and put huge pressures on the NHS so we must act now to prevent the need for tougher measures later on.”
Hancock mentioned the government’s determination to maneuver London to alert degree “high” adopted talks with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, cross-party council management, in addition to nationwide and native public well being officers.
The majority of England stays on the “medium” alert degree, which permits companies to proceed to function in a Covid-19 safe method and features a 10 p.m. curfew for hospitality settings. People will not be allowed to satisfy in teams of six or bigger at this alert degree, each inside and outdoors.
The most extreme degree of restrictions within the U.Okay.’s new three-tier system, outlined by the government on Monday, is “very high.” The Liverpool area is the one space to be underneath the hardest measures.
“We’re at a critical moment in our fight against Covid-19 in London. The virus is spreading rapidly in every corner of our city,” Khan mentioned in his opening assertion to the London Assembly on Thursday.
“We’ll soon reach an average of 100 cases per 100,000 people, with a significant number of boroughs already over that threshold. Hospital admissions are up. More patients are going into Intensive Care Units. And, sadly, the number of Londoners dying every day is increasing again,” Khan mentioned.
U.Okay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday mentioned the government’s three-tier system was the “right way forward,” insisting it may assist to “avoid the misery of a national lockdown.”
Johnson, who himself grew to become critically in poor health with the coronavirus earlier this yr, has been sharply criticized for the government’s response to the pandemic.
LONDON, ENGLAND – Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks throughout a digital briefing.
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Speaking at a televised convention alongside Johnson on Monday, the government’s high medic, Professor Chris Whitty, mentioned restrictions for areas recognized as being at “very high” threat wouldn’t be sufficient to regulate the outbreak.
Whitty urged native authorities to make use of their powers to impose further measures.
Keir Starmer, chief of the opposition Labour social gathering, has since known as for a brief nationwide lockdown of two or three weeks, a so-called “circuit breaker,” in an effort to carry the rising price of the coronavirus underneath management.
Starmer mentioned a change of method was vital so as to keep away from a “bleak winter.”
His feedback got here after paperwork launched on Monday confirmed that the government’s personal scientific advisors, a bunch often known as Sage, had known as for such motion three weeks in the past.
To date, the U.Okay. has recorded greater than 657,000 circumstances of Covid-19, with 43,245 associated deaths, in line with information compiled by Johns Hopkins University.