Londoners urged to follow restrictions as Covid-19 infections rise in capital

Sadiq Khan has urged Londoners to help ensure the city is not placed into tougher Covid-19 restrictions as data shows rising case rates across three-quarters of the capital’s boroughs.

A spokesman for the London mayor warned there could be a “devastating” surge in cases this winter should people fail to follow the existing Tier 2 coronavirus measures.

It comes as the latest data shows that the rate of new Covid-19 cases has increased in 24 of London’s 32 boroughs for the seven days leading up to December 3.

Police officer shot
Police officer shot

Government officials are due to review England’s tiered restrictions on December 16.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said people in the capital must follow the rules or risk being placed into a Tier 3 lockdown.

“If we begin to act like this virus has gone away we could see a devastating further surge in cases at a time of year when our NHS is already under enough pressure,” the spokesman said.

“The number-one way to look out for our loved ones and support local businesses in this festive season is to follow the rules and do all we can to avoid going back into tougher restrictions, later this month or any time in the future.”

My message to Londoners: our retail sector has been hit hard and needs our support more than ever.

But we can’t act in a way that inadvertently leads to a surge in this virus – so please follow the rules and shop safely this Christmas.

— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) December 7, 2020

The latest figures show that Havering in east London has the highest coronavirus rate in the capital, with 898 new cases recorded in the seven days to December 3 – the equivalent of 346 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from 268.5 per 100,000 people in the seven days to November 26.

Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, told the Telegraph that the tier allocation for London may have to be reconsidered.

Mr Hunter said: “There were more cases at the end of lockdown than at the start in London.”

He added: “If cases in London were rising even during a national lockdown then we do need to reconsider the tier allocation in these areas. Whether across the region or at the local authority level is open to debate.”

Richmond in south-west London has the lowest Covid-19 rate in the city, down from 86.9 cases per 100,000 people to 80.3 in the seven days to December 3 – with 159 new cases.

The majority of local authority areas in England (188 out of 315) have seen a fall in case rates.

The figures, for the seven days to December 3, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).

The data has been calculated by the PA news agency, based on Public Health England data published on December 7 on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Tiering decisions are based on a range of criteria including how quickly case rates are going up or down, cases in the over 60s, pressure on the NHS and local circumstances.

“The Government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days and areas will move up or down the tiers based on these indicators from local areas.”