Croydon and the rest of London should be placed in lockdown as soon as tomorrow to stop the spread of covid-19, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has warned.
With large areas of the north of England being placed into coronavirus quarantine last week, and the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, openly wondering whether his “Rule of Six” introduced last week goes far enough (although he appears to be more worried about how he will get by on a mere £150,000 per year), Mayor Khan has stepped in to speak in the interests of Londoners.
Following a meeting with council leaders, Public Health England and government representatives on Friday, Khan said, “It is increasingly likely that, in London, additional measures will soon be required to slow the spread of the virus…
“I am of the firm view that we should not wait, as we did 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.”
Mayor Khan criticised the government for still not having implemented a fully functioning and speedy testing system.
The Dominic Cummings-led government appears to have been surprised by the on-rushing “Second Wave” of covid-19, which they failed to foresee, despite spending the last six weeks encouraging the public to “Eat Out To Help Out”, or go off down the pub, or return to their offices and to re-open schools, and all without the “world-beating” test and trace systems in place that they had promised.
Mayor Khan is urging Londoners to continue to work from home if they can do so, in a switch back to the message used by the government at the height of the lockdown.
New modelling shown to the Mayor suggests that London is no longer two weeks behind hotspots like the north-east of England and Greater Manchester, but is instead “two or three days behind”.
Areas around the fringes of London are already on the government’s watch list as places where local lockdowns might need to be imposed: Spelthorne in Surrey was added to that list on Friday.
In briefings to lobby journalists ahead of his speech to the Labour Party’s conference today, Mayoral sources said, “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.”
Mayor Khan is aware that many civil service departments and some big banks and other corporate firms in London have seen staff continue to work remotely.
There were 4,422 new daily cases recorded across the country on Saturday and 27 deaths. Positive test cases have not exceeded 4,000 per day since early May.
In Croydon, according to figures from Public Health England, there had been 26 new positive cases in the seven days to September 19.
Professor Neil Ferguson – whose modelling led to the government ordering the national lockdown in March – said yesterday that said a second lockdown might be needed “sooner rather than later”.
The professor warned the country is facing a “perfect storm” following the easing of controls over the summer.
This morning, doing the round of the TV studios, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said, “If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdown.”
Sunday newspaper front pages were dominated by the threat of a £10,000 fine for people who broke quarantine rules. It has not been established whether this might be applied retrospectively in the case of Cummings and his drive to Northumberland for a eye sight test…
Asked if England could face another national lockdown, an increasingly baffled-looking Hancock said: “I don’t rule it out, I don’t want to see it.”
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