London mayor, Sadiq Khan, declared a major incident yesterday afternoon as he said the spread of Coronavirus was now ‘out of control’ in the capital.
The number of cases in London is now above 1,000 per 100,000 people, he said, with a 27 per cent increase in hospital patients between December 30 and January 6.
The 7,034 people currently in hospital with COVID-19 represents a 35 per cent increase compared to the peak of the pandemic in April.
Khan said that over the last three days alone, the NHS has announced 477 deaths in London hospitals following a positive test for COVID-19.
While the infection rate for the city as a whole is one in 30, it is as high as one in 20 in some localised areas.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he has demanded churches and other places of worship be closed and for face masks to be worn routinely outside of the home, including in supermarket queues and other places outside that may be crowded.
He also wants more financial support for Londoners who need to self-isolate and are unable to work, and for daily vaccination data.
But according to results of the UK’s largest testing scheme, Coronavirus cases are already dropping in London.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics, which tracks the size of the outbreak through random swabs of thousands of people, suggest the capital’s crisis started to reverse on December 29, a week before the nation’s third national lockdown came into force.
Because of the nature of the illness there is a lag between the number of cases rising and falling and a corresponding change in hospital admissions and deaths.
In a statement yesterday, Khan said: “The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.”
It came as police blasted a ‘small selfish minority’ ignoring the rules and promised to come down hard on transgressors.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Matt Twist, said: “I know Londoners will be shocked that officers are still dealing with a small selfish minority who think the rules don’t apply to them by holding house parties, large warehouse raves or other gatherings. These are creating breeding grounds for the much more transmissible variant.”
And a poll reveals more people are planning to take the covid-19 vaccine, up to 85 per cent from 78 per cent last month.