Will London go into lockdown again? New rules and coronavirus cases

THE chances London could be placed under a new lockdown have increased after the capital was added to the national coronavirus "watch list".

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the capital was at a "tipping point" with London Councils, which represents all 33 boroughs, saying it is a "stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action".

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Will London go into lockdown?

No additional measures will come in for the capital yet, but putting it on the watch list means that the city will be able to get extra support – with more access to tests and other help.

If Londoners have Covid-19 symptoms they should apply for a test at nhs/coronavirus or call 119.

It's not clear yet if the whole of the city will be added to the watchlist, or just certain boroughs with higher rates of infection.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said today that “London is at a very worrying tipping point right now" and that ministers must "get a grip" on testing to ensure more people don't die.

He added: "We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions, and patients in ICU.  

“The near collapse of test and trace and the resurgence of the virus means new measures to slow its spread were absolutely necessary.

“Testing capacity was diverted away from London in the last two weeks to other national hot spots and weekly testing numbers are now down 43 per cent in the capital since mid-August.

"The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and it is why London has been added to the Government’s coronavirus watchlist as an area of concern.  Ministers simply have to get a grip.

"It’s vital that testing capacity is increased immediately in London and focused in the areas it is needed most. Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives."

How many coronavirus cases are in London?

There have been 39,419 confirmed cases in London with 6,885 deaths up to September 25.

In the last 24 hours there were 620 confirmed cases across the capital.

Modelling suggested the capital was only two or three days behind virus hotspots in the North West and North East.

The worst affected areas in the capital are in the North East.

Redbridge is the worst affected borough with 178 cases last week, equating to 58.6 per 100,000.

Barking and Dagenham recorded 93 cases in the same time period, equating to 43.9 per 100,000.

Meanwhile Merton in South West London had just 26 cases, the equivalent of 12.6 per 100,000.

The mayor pointed to a lack of testing capacity in the capital as the reason why it had become an area of concern.

What will the lockdown rules be?

Current plans have been seen by the Evening Standard and are labelled the ‘London Epidemic Response Escalation Framework’.

The plans could include shutting pubs and implementing a 10pm curfew.  

This is only if boroughs of the city pass certain "trigger points" in their infection rate.

Professor Fenton told the Standard on September 16 that restrictions were likely to target hard-hit areas at “borough and sub-regional levels”, but that certain rules could take a “pan-London approach”.

He added: “In some areas which have seen resurgence there have been limits placed on the amount of time you can spend socialising. 

“In some it might be local curfews so you’re not out drinking until the wee hours of the morning.”

When could the local lockdown start?

Sadiq Khan has said the city is "two weeks behind" parts of the UK which have seen tighter coronavirus restrictions enforced.

This means that in the coming weeks the city could see a similar rise in cases that has been seen in Bolton, across Lancashire and in the North East of England. 

Scientists are currently mulling a ‘circuit breaker’ two-week national lockdown to battle the surge in cases. 

According to the Financial Times, experts have now suggested an October lockdown during half term before the virus "breaks the NHS".

More than two million people in the North East are now banned from meeting friends and family from other households – inside or outside.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be reduced to table service only, and they will have to shut between 10pm and 5am.

Ramped-up restrictions apply to two million people across Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.

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