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Sadiq Khan 'pushing for 10pm pub and restaurant curfew' in London
20 September 2020, 07:25
London mayor Sadiq Khan is said to be pressing for a 10pm curfew for pubs and work-from-home orders in the capital amid rising coronavirus cases.
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 sweeping local lockdown curbs.
While data earlier this week suggested London was two weeks behind those areas, the latest modelling seen by Mr Khan was said to show the gap had narrowed to just two or three days.
It comes as Boris Johnson is considering bringing in national restrictions after he warned the UK is “now seeing a second wave” of Covid-19, adding it was “inevitable” that it would arrive.
In a significant tightening of the rules on Saturday night, the Prime Minister announced fines of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate and police patrols, hours after daily recorded cases hit a four-month high of 4,422.
The mayor is now urging ministers to extend the latest regional curbs – including ordering bars and restaurants to close at 10pm – to cover the capital as well, despite pleas from business leaders that such a move would be “devastating”.
He is also said to be looking at the possibility of urging Londoners to work from home if they can - breaking with Boris Johnson’s pleas in recent weeks for workers to return to offices to save town and city centre businesses.
Public health officials across London councils have met in recent days to address the rising rates of Covid-19 across boroughs. The capital’s infection rate per 100,000 people has jumped from 18.8 to around 25.
On Friday Mr Khan said further curbs in London were “increasingly likely”, perhaps mirroring those in northern England, and that he was “of the firm view that we should not wait”.
A mayoral source told the PA news agency: “It’s clear that cases in London are only moving in one direction, we are now just days behind hotspots in the North West and North East. We can’t afford more delay.
“Introducing new measures now will help slow the spread of the virus and potentially prevent the need for a fuller lockdown like we saw in March, which could seriously damage the economy once again.”
It follows a warning by Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London – whose modelling led to the original nationwide lockdown, that the authorities needed to act “sooner rather than later” if they were to avoid a return to the infection rates of last March.
Ministers are still looking at further restrictions, including a temporary two or three-week “circuit break” national shutdown in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.
The move could see pubs and restaurants ordered to close or face a 10pm curfew, while socialising between households could be banned.