Sadiq Khan snubbed: London mayor ‘dismayed’ after not being invited to emergency Cobra

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The London Mayor will not attend crisis talks with the leaders of the devolved administrations on Tuesday, but will speak to the Prime Minister ahead of his latest COVID-19 announcement in the Commons. Downing Street has confirmed Boris Johnson will chair the coronavirus talks but did not say whether Mr Khan would be invited to the first meeting in more than four months.

The London Mayor is understood to be dismayed at being snubbed with coronavirus cases increasing in the capital.

A source close to Mr Khan said: “London should not just be informed about changes to restrictions, but properly consulted.

“We saw what happened when London wasn’t invited to Cobra at the start of the pandemic – we are a city of 10 million people with unique challenges and our needs must be properly considered.”

The emergency Cobra meeting was called as the Government’s chief scientific adviser warned the current coronavirus trend suggests the UK could see 200 or more deaths per day by mid-November.

At a press conference alongside England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick Vallance warned if cases continue to double each week, the UK could see around 50,000 cases a day by the middle of October.

Ahead of the Cobra meeting, Mr Johnson has held a phone calls with the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Number 10 said the leaders acknowledged the rise in coronavirus cases was a “great concern” and they agreed to take a “united approach, as much as possible”.

The Department for Health has confirmed the UK has reported 4,368 new cases of COVID-19 over the most recent 24-hour period.

This is a significant jump from the 3,899 new infections reported on Sunday.

The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus in England is the highest it has been since the end of June.

The latest Government data reveals 205 people with COVID-19 were admitted on Friday – the most since June 27, when the figure was 209.

The damning figures have also prompted the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to recommend the UK coronavirus alert system should be increased from level three to level four.

The current level three threshold means the virus is in “general circulation”, meanwhile a level four warning says the disease is in general circulation and “transmission is high or rising exponentially”.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Cobra meeting, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “You can see what’s been happening over the course of the previous 72 or 96 hours.

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“The PM spoke on Friday about his concerns about a second wave. There was an update to the Cabinet on Saturday, the PM held more meetings with scientific advisers and with colleagues yesterday.

“Today he will be engaging with the devolved administrations, let’s see where we get to.

“Tomorrow morning is an opportunity for Cobra to discuss what next steps may be required in the coronavirus response.”

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