As of Saturday, Londoners will be prohibited from mixing with other households in homes and other indoor settings, including hospitality venues. The move affects millions of people. This follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that the English capital would be moved into the “high” Covid-19 tier amid rising new infections. Business Insider reports that the UK government agreed with London mayor Sadiq Khan that the city required tougher restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The news was announced to London members of Parliament on Thursday morning by UK health minister Helen Whateley. Meanwhile, PM Johnson was expected to confirm it later in the day.
When Prime Minister Johnson revealed the government’s new tiered system for enforcing local lockdowns earlier this week, London had been placed in the least serious “medium” category. However, Khan has reportedly been pushing for London’s alert status to ‘high’. He had on Wednesday met with UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
Business Insider reports that although the number of infections and hospitalizations in London was not as high as that of the north of England, there has been an exponential increase. Khan had this week warned that the virus was “spreading rapidly in every corner of our city”. He said, “Nobody wants to see more restrictions, but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners.”
Khan further backed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s call for a “short national circuit breaker” lockdown, which “could save thousands of lives and drive the virus down to manageable levels”.
People will be allowed to meet outside in private gardens and outdoor spaces, provided they adhere to social distancing and there are no more than six people in a gathering.
Umm Muhammed Umar