LONDON is on the brink of be plunged into Tier 3 lockdown next Saturday after coronavirus infections in the capital became the highest in England.
All the city's boroughs were placed in Tier 2 when the one-month lockdown in England ended on December 2.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Is London going into Tier 3?
There is a threat London could be moved into Tier 3 as soon as next week due to a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
The capital recorded 191.8 new cases per 100,000 in the week to December 6, according to a report published by Public Health England – 20 per cent higher than the week before.
Health ministers told London MPs that the positive test rate across the UK is 5.9 per cent – but it's more than 7 per cent in the capital.
One MP said: "It feels like they are preparing us for Tier 3. The data is pointing that way."
The worst affected areas are in East London – including Walthamstow, Redbridge, Newham and Barking.
The capital is one of only three areas where rates are rising, according to the latest data from Public Health England.
It now has the highest rate of cases among any region in England.
The sharp rise in cases have sparked fears jobs and businesses will be hit once again if the capital is placed under the tough Tier 3 restrictions.
Covid expert Prof Tim Spector said this week: “Currently we have no data that suggests the NHS in England is at risk of being overwhelmed.
“Before increasing restrictions I believe a full cost-benefit evaluation should be made, that accounts for other factors such as mental health, the economy and employment.
“In all the key regions, the dashboard is either trending down or staying the same, so things aren’t getting worse.”
Extra Covid cops and marshals are being deployed on London's streets in a last-ditch attempt to stop the capital from being moved into Tier 3.
Sadiq Khan announced the last-minute blitz and said there would be even more "hands, face, space" signs on the capital's high streets in a desperate attempt to quell the spread of the virus.
And thousands of teen schoolkids will get Covid tests amid fears they are fuelling a devastating third wave.
Meanwhile London's overall case rate is 236 cases per 100,000 cases, according to figures from PA – higher than 22 local authorities in Tier 3.
A public health expert has warned the capital needs to be moved into Tier 3 as soon as possible to avoid further infections and Covid-related deaths.
Professor John Ashton, a former regional director of public health for north-west England, said on December 9: "[The government] needs to decide in the next 48 hours whether to move London into tier 3 otherwise they really risk a terrible situation for London, with deaths going up during the Christmas period.”
He also warned: “They might have to go to complete lockdown.”
There are concerns across the city that Londoners could face tougher measures, but a decision on the new tier restrictions has not been made yet.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "Tier 3 would be catastrophic to our hospitality sector – pubs, bars, restaurants would be seriously affected, and our cultural venues.
"Londoners have made huge sacrifices over the last few weeks and months.
"It's really important, leading up to Christmas where the rules will be relaxed even more, we do all we can to keep ourselves safe, our families safe but also don't allow the NHS to be overwhelmed in January."
A spokesman for Mr Khan added people in the capital must follow the rules or risk being placed into a Tier 3 lockdown.
When will a decision be made on the tier change?
When announcing the new tier system, Boris Johnson confirmed it would be reviewed every two weeks.
The measures came into place on December 2, meaning the next review will take place on December 16.
On that day – only nine days before Christmas – Government officials are set to meet to review tier rules across England.
How would the rules change if London goes into Tier 3?
If London is moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3, the main difference in restrictions is related to social gatherings.
In Tier 2, people can meet in groups of six outside – including places such as public spaces, private gardens and outdoor areas of pubs or restaurants.
Hospitality venues can also stay open as long as they serve a "substantial meal" with all sales of alcohol.
But in Tier 3, all hospitality venues would have to close.
People in Tier 3 must not meet with people from different households, unless they have a support bubble.
There are some limited exceptions to this – meaning groups of up to six people could meet in some outdoor public places such as parks, beaches, public gardens and playgrounds.
Are shops, gyms and hairdressers open in Tier 3?
Yes, venues such as shops, gyms and hairdressers can remain open in Tier 3.
The Government announced these venues can remain open across all tiers.
This was one of the main changes from the old to the new tier system which came into place in England after the end of lockdown on December 2.
Source: Read Full Article