Sadiq Khan says respect 'rule of six' or face prospect of curfew rules in London

18 September 2020, 10:51 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 13:34

Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Sadiq Khan has warned new coronavirus measures similar to those in effect in the North East of England could be imposed in London if people don't follow social distancing rules.

Speaking to LBC's James O'Brien, the Mayor of London urged people in the capital to continue following the rule of six and other distancing guidelines as he revealed cases in the city were rising.

Mr Khan said on Friday: "Without wishing to alarm your listeners, the number of cases in London are going up; the infection rate is going up, and hospital admissions are going up.

READ MORE: London NYE firework display cancelled, Sadiq Khan confirms

"But we aren't at a point where we would need to trigger the sort of things we need to do that you're seeing across the country."

Sadiq Khan warned lockdowns could be coming to London
Sadiq Khan warned lockdowns could be coming to London. Picture: LBC

Mr Khan's comments came shortly before the government announced new measures for swathes of North West England, the Midlands and West Yorkshire, on Friday meaning more than 10 million people in the country are facing new restrictions.

A day earlier, people living in the North East in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and County Durham were told they could no longer mix with households outside of their support bubbles due to a rise in COVID-19 transmission.

Pubs, bars and restaurants in these areas have also been given a nightly curfew from 10pm.

READ MORE: New lockdown rules for NE England - explained

According to Mr Khan, similar restrictions "could well be coming to London," but authorities were "keen to do our bit to avoid that happening."

"Wear a face mask, use hand sanitiser. If you can, work from home; avoid rush hour," he said, adding that he "fully supports" the rule of six.

"The rule of six is designed for us to avoid the virus spreading too fast, leading to the NHS being overwhelmed, leading to a further national lockdown."

READ MORE: Tough coronavirus restrictions imposed on North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson warned that the country needed to flatten the "second hump" to protect Christmas this year.

The prime minister said tough action was necessary to stop the virus "in its tracks" and to avoid a second lockdown.

He told The Sun: "I'm afraid infections do feed through to mortality and that is a fact we have to deal with.

"The crucial thing now is that I do not wish to go into some great lockdown again that stops business from functioning."

READ MORE: Health Secretary Matt Hancock: new national lockdown would be 'last line of defence'

But, on Friday, Mr Khan revealed he hadn't had contact with Mr Johnson since the last COBRA meeting on 10 May, adding that he believed it was because "the government doesn't like being challenged".

"We're facing the biggest health, economic and social crisis since the Second World War," the mayor said, later adding: "I'm really concerned with the government's handling of this pandemic.

"I think it has led to more people catching the virus, more people losing their lives.

"My worry is they've not learned the lessons from the first six months of the virus."

READ MORE: Restrictions on care home visits to be imposed as part of winter plan

Turning specifically to reference COBRA, he added: "Those sorts of meetings are important.

"COBRA works; we know it works because when there's a terror incident it meets and it is successful at dealing with terrorist incidents.

"We know in the past, in previous crises, COBRAs have met and found resolutions.

"It's a grownup conversation where people are tested and challenged [...] The government doesn't like being challenged."

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