London added to national COVID-19 watchlist

25 September 2020, 11:38 | Updated: 25 September 2020, 18:23

London has been put on the national coronavirus 'watch list'
London has been put on the national coronavirus 'watch list'. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

All of London's boroughs have been made areas of "concern", Public Health England's latest coronavirus weekly surveillance report said.

The report shows the seven-day rolling average of case rates in the capital, with the rate in the City of London estimated at 185.4 per 100,000 people, while in Havering it stands at 139.2.

There are no additional measures being imposed on the capital at this stage. 620 new cases were confirmed in the capital in the last 24 hours.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “London is at a very worrying tipping point right now.

"We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions, and patients in ICU.  

“The near collapse of test and trace and the resurgence of the virus means new measures to slow its spread were absolutely necessary."

He said the capital's addition to the red list as an "area of concern" was because testing capacity was diverted to other hotspots over the past fortnight, meaning testing is down 43 per cent across London on mid-August.

Read more: New London lockdown curbs will arrive imminently, says Sadiq Khan

Read more: Sadiq Khan says he'll go it alone if national curbs fail to go far enough

Calling the situation "totally unacceptable", he added: "Ministers simply have to get a grip. It’s vital that testing capacity is increased immediately in London and focused in the areas it is needed most.

"Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.”

London Councils, which represents all 32 boroughs and the City, issued a statement today: "it is a stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe, and to ensure that London's economy is protected.

"There are no additional measures at this stage but it is welcome that that the city’s testing capacity is boosted so that Londoners have timely access to Covid-19 tests and the government must ensure that this is sustained from now on.

"If Londoners have Covid-19 symptoms they should apply for a test at nhs/coronavirus or call 119.

"We ask all Londoners to work together and abide by the national restrictions announced on Tuesday."

London Councils also issued a reminder of the latest rules:

1. Office workers who can work from home are being asked to do so.

2. All pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways.

3. All hospitality venues must close at 10pm.

4. More people must wear face coverings - staff working in retail; all users of taxis and private hire vehicles; and staff and customers in indoor hospitality venues - except when seated at tables to eat or drink.

5. In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, government’s Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations.

6. From Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions.

7. The rule of six is being extended to all adult indoor team sports.

8. Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not be able to reopen from 1 October.

9. Stronger penalties for failing to adhere to government restrictions: a fine of up to £10,000 for businesses that break the rules and the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.

It means the capital could become the latest UK city to face stricter lockdown measures. There were 531 new cases in the capital on Wednesday. Friday's was the highest daily total since April 17 when there were 578 new cases.

It came as officials in Leeds revealed the Yorkshire city is likely to face new lockdown restrictions from midnight including a ban on households mixing.

Judith Blake said she expected Leeds will be made an “area of intervention”, meaning “more household restrictions along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts in Bradford, Kirkless and Calderdale”.

This story is being updated