Crowd spills into Leicester Square after curfew following Mayor's warning of tighter covid rules

10 October 2020, 10:11

By Asher McShane

A large crowd gathered in central London after the 10pm curfew last night, just hours after the Mayor of London warned of tighter covid-19 restrictions for the capital.

Footage taken last night showed groups of men and women dancing in the middle of Leicester Square.

The scene came just hours after Sadiq Khan told LBC that tighter restrictions for London were 'inevitable' next week.

The Mayor warned the virus is "accelerating in every part of London."

The large crowd gathered in Leicester Square
The large crowd gathered in Leicester Square. Picture: LBC

Mr Khan said: "My prediction is there will be more restrictions being brought in because we don't want to see in October and November what we saw in March and April."

He said that any new London restrictions would not be borough-by-borough and would be London-wide because "it's the most effective way to reduce the spread of this virus."

If London moves from a level one scenario to level two, under the government's proposed new scheme, then households mixing would be banned. However Mr Khan said that would depend on meetings next week as part of an "escalation process."

"We will have all the data and the options in front of us before we make a decision," he said.

London's infection rate is 59 per 100,000 people, a fraction of the rates seen in hotspots in the North, where it has been as high as 550 per 100,000. 

Mr Khan said he had been working closely with the Health Secretary on establishing a package of measures appropriate for London. He said they were looking at three levels of restrictions.

Read more: 'Marked increase' of covid-19 in England with estimated 224,400 cases

“You’ve got three buckets, level one the least restrictions, level one the most - similar to lockdown-type measures.

“What’s clear to me is that it’s inevitable there will be additional restrictions in London.

“What we are discussing as ‘One London’ is what we think the right level should be and work with government to make sure we have the right level there.”

Mr Khan said he expected an announcement from No10 due next week would apply to London as well.

“What should happen if things work well, is the government listens to leaders across the country, looks at the data across the country, and then works out with leaders across the country what level each region should be.”

“The other key factor is you can’t detangle health from the economy.”

Figures for London today showed that Richmond upon Thames has the highest infection rate in the capital, with 112.1 new cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 5.

Cases have shot up to 222 from 89 in the previous week.

Redbridge has the second highest rate of infection at 108.8, with the number of cases rising to 332, from 240.

An estimated 224,400 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between September 25 and October 1, the ONS said today.

This is the equivalent of around 0.41% of the population.

The figures represent a jump from 116,600 people, or 0.21% of the population, who were estimated to have Covid-19 in the previous week of September 18 to 24.

The ONS said its estimates showed the number of infections has "increased rapidly in recent weeks".

Skills minister Gillian Keegan warned last night that the virus "is serious" and is "getting out of control."