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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to enter a round of talks this morning finalising the COVID alert status of several areas. This includes London, with many – including Mayor Sadiq Khan – calling for stricter lockdown measures for the capital.
Mr Khan said earlier this week it was “inevitable” London would reach the “trigger point” for stricter conditions, and stricter rules could be put in place “in the next few days”.
When Mr Johnson announced the new three-tier system on Monday, London was placed in the Tier 1 category, meaning no new rules were introduced, and the rule of six and curfews for hospitality remained in place.
However, with cases across the capital increasing, key figures have called on the Prime Minister to up the status to Tier 2.
This would see Londoners unable to socialise with anyone who is not a member of their own household or support bubble.
Read More: London lockdown: Millions face Tier 2 restrictions as decision set
Pubs and restaurants would stay open, but those across London would only be able to enjoy a drink or meal out with their household.
Mr Khan told Sky News on Wednesday: “Across our city… the average over the last seven days is about 90 per 100,000.
“All the indicators I have, hospital admissions, ICU occupancy, the numbers of older people with cases, the prevalence of the disease, the positivity are all going the wrong direction.
“Which means, I’m afraid, it’s inevitable over the course of the next few days London will have passed a trigger point to be in the second tier.”
What time will London’s tier status be announced?
The Prime Minister is due to speak with his COVID committee this morning on whether London as well as Manchester and the North East of England should be placed into higher tiers.
Manchester and areas in the North of England could see their lockdown upgraded to Tier 3, meaning no household mixing is allowed indoors or outdoors, pubs and bars must close and travelling outside the high area is cautioned against.
Restaurants and pubs in these areas can remain open, if they serve meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal and alcohol can only be served as part of a meal.
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After Mr Johnson’s meetings, Health Secretary Matt Hancock will update MPs on the latest measures in a Commons statement at 11.30am today.
Ministers will today hold talks with experts before potentially announcing any new measures on Friday.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Khan said that as the rate of infections in London was “fast approaching” 100 cases per 100,000, it was “likely” the capital would move to the next alert level as early as this week.
He called on the PM to offer a package of support to the capital.
Moving from “medium” up to “high” would see the nine million people living in the capital banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.
Mr Khan wrote: “It is vital London has the resources to engage, explain, encourage and enforce heightened restriction and support compliance.
“One London borough has done some specific work to estimate the cost of providing that service for six months from November onward and it is £300k over and above the allocation that was recently made to councils for support to compliance.
“I am aware that these are discussions that have taken place with other areas that have had restrictions in place and London government would expect to have those discussions as well.”
Monday’s announcement of the three lockdown tiers was met with frustration by some, who believe a national lockdown should have been implemented instead.
Labour MPs have called for a “circuit breaker” or a two to three week lockdown to stop the spread of infection and ease strain on the NHS.
However, Mr Johnson is desperate to avoid any form of national lockdown.
Despite this, Government sources have said the Prime Minister could order a two-week closure of pubs, restaurants and some other businesses if the three tier system does not reduce the spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, the UK announced 19,724 new coronavirus cases, and a further 137 deaths.
The numbers have been climbing in recent months, and the impact of these new lockdown measures will not be seen for a few weeks yet.
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