The capital has initially been placed under “medium” restrictions, comprising baseline measures such as the 10pm pub curfew and the rule of six, in the Government’s new three-tier system of local alerts for England.
This places London, alongside most of the country at the lowest end of the scale, meaning no new restrictions would be imposed when the tiered system comes into force on 14 October.
However, the city's mayor has warned that London could be moved to more stringent lockdown measures “very quickly, potentially even this week”.
A move from the medium to high tier would see mixing between different households or social bubbles banned indoors, including in pubs and restaurants – though sites would be allowed to remain open.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser (The MA), Liverpool will be the first area of the country subject to third tier, very high, lockdown measures, including pub closures, while areas including North Tyneside, Newcastle, Greater Manchester, Sheffield and Northumberland will face second tier, high, restrictions.
Responsibility to act
According to reports, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in London passed the 60,000-mark on 12 October – reaching 695.6 cases per 100,000 people – with Brent, Croydon and Barnet the worst affected boroughs.
In comparison, the French government ordered the closure of bars and cafés in Paris for two weeks from 6 October after declaring the city and its nearest suburbs to be zones of “maximum alert” following a period of high Covid-19 infection rates.
France's maximum alert level comes into force when a local infection rate exceeds 250 infections per 100,000 people and at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients.
“The virus is now spreading very quickly in every corner of London,” a spokesman for the mayor said. “The number of cases is rapidly increasing and all the indicators we look at are moving in the wrong direction.
“As of today, London is at medium in the Government’s new alert levels. However, Londoners should understand that this could change very quickly – potentially even this week.”
As reported by The MA’s sister title MCA, Khan discussed the new alert system with London’s local leaders who are understood to have agreed further restrictions will soon be needed if the figures continue to rise.
“Discussions with London leaders, scientific advisers and the Government will continue over the coming days and the mayor will be as clear as possible with Londoners about what they can expect as soon as possible,” the spokesperson added.
“Nobody wants to see new measures that will impact on businesses in London such as the hospitality sector – least of all the mayor – but we have a responsibility to act on the evidence if it will save lives.”