Sadiq Khan demands support for London as it is on brink of lockdown

EALING is now London’s Covid-19 hotspot as the capital prepares to plunge into Tier 2 lockdown tomorrow

  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said a support package need to be put into place
  • His letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said Tier 2 was likely for capital
  • Mr Khan said London needed to encourage and enforce ‘heightened restriction’ 

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Ealing has become London’s new Covid-19 hotspot, figures revealed today as it was confirmed that the capital is being thrust into a Tier Two lockdown from tomorrow night.

Government data shows the West London borough diagnosed 144.5 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending October 9, topping Richmond-upon-Thames (137.9). 

The Mayor of London sought clarity on provisions made for businesses, support for vulnerable Londoners and test and trace efforts in the capital, including for those self-isolating.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Khan said that as the rate of infections in London was ‘fast approaching’ 100 cases per 100,000, it was ‘likely’ the capital would move to the next alert level as early as this week.

Moving from ‘medium’ up to ‘high’ would see the nine million people living in the capital banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

‘It is vital London has the resources to engage, explain, encourage and enforce heightened restriction and support compliance,’ Mr Khan said in the letter.

‘One London borough has done some specific work to estimate the cost of providing that service for six months from November onward and it is £300k over and above the allocation that was recently made to councils for support to compliance.

‘I am aware that these are discussions that have taken place with other areas that have had restrictions in place and London government would expect to have those discussions as well.’ 

Infection rates appear to be rising all over London, reaching higher levels in the west

Infection rates appear to be rising all over London, reaching higher levels in the west

Mayor Sadiq Khan said that a support package would be needed for lockdown London

Mayor Sadiq Khan said that a support package would be needed for lockdown London

WHICH BOROUGHS HAVE MORE THAN 100 CASES PER 100,000? 

Seven–day rolling rate of new cases by specimen date ending on October 9:

Ealing: 144.5

Richmond upon Thames: 137.9

Redbridge: 131.1

Hackney and City of London: 131.0

Harrow: 123.0

Haringey: 115.8

Barnet: 110.9

Hammersmith and Fulham: 108.0

Kingston upon Thames: 105.9

Hounslow: 105.3 

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Mr Khan said the ‘unique circumstances’ of the capital must be reflected in the approach and support. 

He added: ‘The capital was hit particularly hard during the first wave with many of our communities and particularly the BAME community, suffering disproportionately.

‘In addition, many families live in overcrowded accommodation and face high levels of homelessness and rough sleeping.

‘Our size and density present specific challenges, with the economic case for protecting businesses in the Central Activities Zone overwhelming.’

Among the requests, Mr Khan urged for clarity on what provisions would be made available for businesses, warning that hundreds of thousands of jobs remain at risk in the capital.

He said it was ‘critical’ that the Government resolves the funding position of Transport for London (TfL), urging a package for the network.

As well as seeking clarity on support for vulnerable Londoners, the mayor called for an immediate increase to testing capacity, as well as a ‘redoubling’ of efforts to ensure testing for staff and residents.

‘I will continue to urge Londoners to be vigilant, follow the rules and exercise caution,’ he said in the letter.

‘I accept that these new measures will impact on businesses and Londoners, but we have a joint responsibility to work together and do what we can to control this virus and save lives.’ 

The mayor has previously insisted London should move as a whole into higher restrictions despite variable rates across the capital.

London Tory Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said Mr Khan was letting the city down.

He said: ‘Sadiq Khan is failing London. A Mayor should stand up for his city.

‘A Mayor should be a champion for its businesses. Sadiq Khan is letting us down. We need to get London moving.’  

Twelve London boroughs have seen Covid-19 infection rates tip the worrying threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Richmond upon Thames (140.4), Hackney and City of London (133.1) and Ealing (132.5) had the highest daily new cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 8, according to Government statistics. 

None of the 32 boroughs had tipped the threshold before now, according to separate Public Health England data.

An average of 44 people are being admitted to hospitals across London every day. This compared to lows of five at the start of August, and almost 750 at the start of April

An average of 44 people are being admitted to hospitals across London every day. This compared to lows of five at the start of August, and almost 750 at the start of April

Cases are rising in London but this appears to only be in younger populations, based on hospital data

Cases are rising in London but this appears to only be in younger populations, based on hospital data

Croydon (69.8), Bromley (67.1) and Sutton (64), all in the south, sit at the other end of the scale with the fewest new cases per day — but all of them have still seen a significant hike in infections over the past month.

The average coronavirus infection rate across London’s boroughs is 94.15 cases per 100,000 people, according to the most recent Department of Health data — the equivalent of nearly one person in every 1,000 in the last week.

However, London’s figures appear to be being skewed upwards by the inclusion in the data of infected students studying in other cities. In Richmond, the capital’s supposed hotspot, analysis shows that a quarter of positive cases in the borough since are actually in places including Manchester, Leeds, Exeter and Durham.

Of 212 cases recorded in Richmond since September 20, 49 were in other towns and cities.

The vast majority of these people were aged 17 to 21, suggesting they were students originally from London whose cases were recorded using their home address.

Yesterday Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, seemed to agree lockdown was coming.

She said: ‘We need to deal with this nasty virus, but I’m asking the Mayor to respond calmly and proportionately for the sake of our jobs, our livelihoods and our mental health.

‘Sadly it now looks inevitable that London is going into further lockdown, the Mayor has been lobbying for this for some time, even before the infection rate was increasing.

‘Let’s be in no doubt going into Tier Two will be devastating for businesses and people’s lives in the Capital.

‘Now we need an urgent and clear plan to show how London can turn things around and reopen as soon as it’s right to do so.’

WHAT ARE THE THREE TIERS? 

TIER 1/MEDIUM

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors 
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am 
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is a take-out service 
  • places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees 
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors with the rule of 6

TIER 2/HIGH

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport 
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible 

TIER 3/VERY HIGH:  

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park 
  • pubs and bars must close and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals 
  • places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted  
  • weddings (but not receptions) and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees 
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area
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