London Mayor Sadiq Khan calls meeting to tackle 'worsening' covid-19 in capital

20 September 2020, 20:05 | Updated: 21 September 2020, 05:46

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will hold a meeting of London council leaders tomorrow
London Mayor Sadiq Khan will hold a meeting of London council leaders tomorrow. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

London mayor Sadiq Khan is to meet with council leaders today to discuss lockdown restriction measures for the city as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the capital.

Sadiq Khan's office said it was better to "move too early than too late" as Covid-19 cases begin to rise in the region.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: "The situation is clearly worsening. Sadiq will meet council leaders tomorrow and any London-specific measures will be recommended to ministers following that.

"The mayor wants fast action as we cannot risk a delay, as happened in March. It is better for both health and business to move too early than too late."

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

Health Secretary Matt Hancock echoed the Mayor's warnings and said the introduction of restrictions in London within days cannot be ruled out.

He said he had spoken with Mr Khan over the weekend about what action is needed in the capital.

It comes as Mr Khan urged ministers to extend the latest regional restrictions - including ordering bars and restaurants to close at 10pm - to cover the capital as well.

Mayoral sources said the city was catching up with disease hotspots in the north-west and north-east of England, which have been placed under new controls.

He first warned of a possible lockdown in London on Friday, shortly before the government announced new measures for swathes of North West England, the Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Over 1,000 new Covid-19 cases have been recorded in London boroughs in the past week.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called on the Government to reconvene Cobra as a "matter of urgency" and have seats available for all English regions.

He said more focus on the needs of northern communities and businesses was needed, with large parts of the North of England under local restrictions and a "north-south divide" on access to testing.

He told Swarbrick on Sunday on LBC the North of England is experiencing the highest number of cases and warned the Government needs to find strategies other than local restrictions to get the situation under control.

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

"We've been under restrictions for some weeks now, unlike London, and our experience would be that maybe they have some impact, but I think sometimes it's overemphasised the amount of impact these measures have," he said.

He reiterated his offer to the Government to provide more resources to support contact tracing, which he said "clearly isn't working properly".

"I've got Greater Manchester Police and fire service willing to put forward frontline staff to help get in touch with people who need to isolate," he added.