Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, today urged all Londoners to continue to follow the lockdown rules in order to ensure that all restrictions in the capital can be lifted by June 21, as outlined last night by the Prime Minister.
“The recent reduction in case numbers in our city is thanks to the heroic efforts of Londoners staying at home and following the rules,” Mayor Khan said.
“But even with the roll-out of the vaccine, we’re not out of the woods yet. For now, the rules stay the same.
“We must continue to stay at home, stop the spread of this virus and help ease the pressure on our NHS. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it.”
The Mayor was speaking on the day that “surge testing” began in New Addington to deal with possible cases of the South African variant of covid-19, and when Croydon police released footage of arrests being made at a barbers’ shop in West Croydon, where a party involving dozens of people was held in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“Dozens of people in attendance were all reported for fines, including the event organiser,” the police said on social media.
“The covid-19 rules are in place for a reason – to keep us all safe. Please follow them.”
Yesterday marked the 15th consecutive day when the number of covid-19 infections reported in Croydon had been below 100 – on one day, February 15, the numbers recorded were as low as 41, well down on the 837 peak of the “second spike” reached on January 8.
The reduction in the number of reported cases in Croydon is consistent with the fall in infections being reported across the capital.
Last night, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, outlined a phased easing of lockdown over the next four months, his so-called “roadmap”, saying that he will look at “data not dates”. In total, 120,757 people in the UK have died as a result of coronavirus in the past year, one of the worst death rates in the western world.
Covid cases will need to fall to extremely low levels in central London before the current work from home advice is dropped, something the government says it will consider as part of a review ahead of June 21, the Stage 4 date when nearly all restrictions could be lifted.
In London, the Evening Standard reported, “thousands of firms are struggling to survive and tens of thousands of jobs are at risk because of the ‘hollowing out’ of the city centre with so few people commuting in to work”.
Last night Johnson said he is “very confident” all restrictions on normal life in England will end on June 21, saying the government will continue to provide economic support to businesses until they can operate as normal – appearing to confirm that many financial packages will be extended in the Chancellor’s Budget next month.
“There will be changes obviously as a result of the way the economy has been changing naturally,” he said. “What we will do is continue to put our arms around everybody in the country to look after them throughout the pandemic, as we have.
“Obviously nothing can be guaranteed and it all depends on the way we continue to be prudent and continue to follow the guidance in each stage,” Johnson said.
Pinning his own, political, hopes and the health of the nation on the roll-out of vaccines, Johnson said, “Genuinely, because of the immense possibilities of the rollout, because science has given us this way of creating a shield around our population, we can really look at that June 21 date with some optimism. I’m very optimistic that we’ll be able to get there.”
Facing criticism from some Tory MPs over the pace of change, Johnson said he was hopeful that all legal controls could be removed on the final date earmarked in his four-step plan.
What are the covid-19 lockdown rules for Croydon today?
London is under an England-wide lockdown, which prevents any social mixing between households.
Londoners are asked only to leave home for limited reasons such as shopping, going to work, seeking medical assistance, or avoiding domestic abuse.
According to government advice, people in New Addington and Fieldway should further limit the time they spend away from home because of the current testing regime to detect the South African variant of covid-19.
The government has announced a roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England. There will be no more tiers. Instead, England will be under one new national system.
From March 8 to March 29
All schools will open, with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed.
Pupils at school must wear face masks at all times.
Meeting up socially outdoors with one other person will be allowed. Until then, it is illegal and you can still only meet another person outdoors once a day for exercise.
People in care homes will also be allowed one named visitor.
We must all stay at home until at least March 29 — this is the law.
From March 29
You will be able to meet in groups of up to six outdoors or as two whole households. This includes meeting in private gardens.
You should still stay local as much as possible. Overnight stays will still not be permitted.
Outdoor sports facilities like tennis and basketball courts will reopen, and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will also return.
Restaurants, pubs and cafés can reopen for outdoor dining in England no earlier than April 12.
Hospitality venues could begin to serve limited numbers of customers inside dining rooms no earlier than May 17.
A limited number of football and rugby fans could be allowed back into stadiums to see their teams play again by the end of the season. If trials are successful, “up to 10,000 people or 25 per cent of total seated capacity, whichever is lower” will be allowed in stadiums for sporting events, but not before May 17.
That could mean (albeit much-reduced) crowds in football grounds for the final round of games in the Premier League on May 23.
Every five weeks the government will review whether the current situation has passed a set of four tests. This will determine whether we can move into the next stage and see more restrictions lifted.
Today, Mayor Khan said, “Even as coronavirus cases continue to drop and more than 1.7million Londoners have had their first vaccine, it is understandable that the Prime Minister is taking a cautious approach.
“I welcome the publication of the roadmap, which shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel and provides more information for Londoners about what the next few months may look like if we continue to make progress reducing the spread of the virus.
“This must be the final lockdown that Londoners and people across the UK have to endure. We simply cannot risk completely lifting restrictions too early, leading to a surge in cases and further mutations in the virus which would put the whole roadmap and our economic recovery at risk.
“For now, the rules stay the same. We must continue to stay at home, stop the spread of this virus and help ease the pressure on our NHS. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it.”
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