London likely to enter tier 3 as infections rise

Covid: London likely to move to tier 3 amid rising rates

(BBC) – London faces a move to tier three – England’s highest level of coronavirus restrictions – in the coming days, the BBC has been told.
Ministers and officials are said to be “deeply concerned” about a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases across the capital.
BBC health editor Hugh Pym reports London MPs have been briefed on the data, but no decision has been taken.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged ministers to act “with open eyes” and avoid damaging the capital’s economy.
He said tier three could have a “catastrophic consequence” for hospitality, culture and some retail, as pubs and restaurants would be limited to takeaways or deliveries.
Council leaders in London are understood to be alarmed at the projected rise in cases and some are pushing for a “tier three plus” regime with tougher restrictions than tier three on its own.
Essex may also be moved from tier two to tier three, which would see hotels largely closed, sports fans excluded from events, and residents advised against travelling to other areas.
With Kent, Medway and Slough already under tier three rules, large parts of south-east England could soon join much of the Midlands, North West and North East under the strictest curbs on social contacts.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to make a statement in the House of Commons at 15:30 GMT and later lead a Downing Street news conference.
Coronavirus in London - statistics week ending 13 December 2020
Some areas in and around London have recorded large increases in confirmed coronavirus cases over the past week.
In the week to 12 November, Havering was the only area of London in the top 100 places in England with the highest infection rates, at 85th.
It now has the fifth highest rate, at 506 cases per 100,000, BBC England data unit’s Rob England said.
Back in November, London had the third lowest regional rate of about 187 cases per 100,000, while Yorkshire and the Humber recorded the highest at 443 per 100,000.
Now the two regions seem to have swapped places, with Yorkshire enjoying the third lowest rate of about 170 per 100,000.
Hugh Pym described the situation as “fast-moving” and that he understood health officials presented data showing a sharp rise in virus cases – risking further rapid increases in the coming days.
The east of London and the bits of Essex and Kent that border it have now become the hotspots for Covid.
Cases are rising and there are several east London boroughs that have seen more than 350 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days. In Havering, there has been 470.
To put that in perspective, Manchester which is in tier three, has seen 176 cases per 100,000 in the past seven days.
What has provided some protection for London is the fact hospitals have not been at immediate risk of being overwhelmed.
Latest data from London from a week ago showed one in nine beds were available.
But admissions have continued to go up since – causing real concern behind the scenes.
Other parts of the capital have lower rates, but there are signs they are rising too.
That’s why the government feels it has little option but to act.
Experts warned last week that London should be placed in tier three immediately to avoid an increase in coronavirus deaths.
But at the time the Department of Health said a review of tiers would happen every 14 days, with the next due on 16 December.
Meanwhile, London’s mayor has urged the government to ask all secondary schools and colleges in the capital to close early ahead of Christmas.
Sadiq Khan said he also wanted an extended break for schools as there are “significant” Covid outbreaks among 10 to 19-year-olds.
Islington Council has followed Greenwich in advising schools to switch to remote learning from Tuesday.

Downing Street said it expects all schools and colleges in England to remain open until the end of term on Thursday.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.