Additional lockdown restrictions 'increasingly likely' in London, Sadiq Khan warns

18 September 2020, 20:03 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 20:46

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was 'extremely concerned' by the latest figures
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was 'extremely concerned' by the latest figures. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The Mayor of London said it is "increasingly likely" that additional measures will be needed to curb the spread of coronavirus in the capital.

Speaking on Friday, Sadiq Khan said he is "extremely concerned" by the "accelerating speed at which Covid-19 is now spreading here in London."

The Mayor also said the rising number of cases in the capital was "made worse by the uncertainty caused by the lack of testing capacity."

Read more: Tough coronavirus restrictions imposed on North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire

Read more: Pressure on Boris Johnson to hold emergency meeting as Covid fears deepen

He said City Hall would be "considering some of the measures which have already been imposed in other parts of the UK" and that we "should not wait... for this virus to again spiral out of control before taking action."

Mr Khan's comments came as Boris Johnson said a second wave of coronavirus cases is hitting the UK and was always "inevitable."

On Friday, it was revealed that the coronavirus R rate across the UK has risen to between 1.1 and 1.4 - up from between 1.0 and 1.2 last week.

The Mayor said: “The Prime Minister has said that we are now seeing the start of a second wave of Covid-19 across the UK.

"Londoners should also know that I am extremely concerned by the latest evidence I’ve seen today from public health experts about the accelerating speed at which Covid-19 is now spreading here in London. This is made worse by the uncertainty caused by the lack of testing capacity in the capital.

“This afternoon I held an emergency meeting with London council leaders, the Government and Public Health England to discuss the next steps. It is increasingly likely that, in London, additional measures will soon be required to slow the spread of the virus.

"We will be considering some of the measures which have already been imposed in other parts of the UK. I am of the firm view that we should not wait, as happened six months ago, for this virus to again spiral out of control before taking action.

"The best thing for both public health and the economy is new restrictions imposed early, rather than a full lockdown when it’s too late - but the government must urgently ensure there is a fully functioning testing system.

“I strongly urge all Londoners to be as cautious as possible over this weekend. Please think very carefully about your actions - strictly follow social distancing rules, regularly wash your hands and wear a face covering to help reduce the spread of the virus.”

The Prime Minister conceded to reporters that the UK was seeing a second wave of Covid-19 "coming in" as he visited a construction site on the Harwell Science and Innovations campus near Didcot, Oxfordshire.

Mr Johnson said: "There's no question, as I've said for several weeks now, that we could expect and we are now seeing a second wave coming in.

"We've seen it in France, we've seen it in Spain, across Europe it's been absolutely, I'm afraid, inevitable that we would see it in this country."

Mr Johnson said a second lockdown was the "last thing anybody wants" but that the current measures would need to be kept "under review".

"On Monday we brought in the measures that we did, the 'rule of six', to really try and restrict what people are doing and to bring in a new buffer - and to make it absolutely clear, the 'rule of six': indoors six maximum, six outdoors maximum," he told broadcasters in Oxfordshire.

"But the crucial thing is at the same time to observe the basic rules on social distancing - hands, face, space - that is what everybody has got to do if we want to continue to beat this thing.

"But as we look at this particular curve and what is happening now, clearly we are going to keep everything under review. I don't want to get into a second national lockdown at all, it is the last thing anybody wants.

"I don't want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all, we want to keep schools open and it is fantastic the schools have gone back in the way they have. We want to keep the economy open as far as we possibly can, we want to keep businesses going.

"The only way we can do that is obviously if people follow the guidance."

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