Tougher Tier 2 restrictions will be introduced for the capital – but no decision has been taken on moving Greater Manchester into Tier 3.
London will face Tier 2 COVID-19 restrictions from Saturday, with the capital’s mayor warning that the coronavirus is “spreading rapidly in every corner of our city”.
It means millions in the capital will be banned from meeting people from other households indoors, whether that’s in their home or in a pub.
Health minister Helen Whately told London MPs of the decision during a call this morning.
There has been no decision about whether to move Greater Manchester into Tier 3, the highest level of restrictions, with further meetings between ministers and local leaders due to take place later today.
This comes after Birmingham City Council has said that around 25 previously used COVID-19 testing kits had been given out to city residents by mistake in the student area of Selly Oak as part of the city’s “drop-and-collect” service.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said COVID-19 is “spreading rapidly in every corner of our city”, with a “significant number” of boroughs reporting an average of 100 cases per 100,000 people.
he told the London Assembly:
“Nobody wants to see more restrictions, but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners by myself, London council leaders and ministers,”
Mr Khan said that “action on a national scale” was still required, given “how far the virus has already been allowed to spread” and the government’s “complete failure to get a working test, trace and isolate system in place”.
He backed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s call for a “short national circuit breaker” lockdown, which “could save thousands of lives and drive the virus down to manageable levels”.
Mr Khan added: “In London, we experienced the worst of COVID-19 back in the spring. Thousands of lives were lost and our economy has been left reeling.”
“We simply can’t afford for the government to be slow to act again.”
Rupa Huq, Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, said she was “unconvinced this tinkering is really enough”.
“As SAGE [Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] advise, to stop it spreading like wildfire a short sharp circuit breaker now needed,” she added.
Another Labour MP, Ilford North’s Wes Streeting, said the Tier 2 restrictions for London would keep businesses open “in name only” and called for more economic support.
This comes after a four-week “circuit breaker” style lockdown will come into force throughout Northern Ireland on Friday in an attempt to stall the rise in coronavirus infections.
Nickie Aiken, Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, said she was “deeply concerned about the impact further lockdown will have on the capital’s hospitality, leisure and retail businesses”.
“Alongside protecting the health of Londoners, protecting people’s jobs and livelihoods must be a priority at this time.”
“Many of our businesses are already on their knees, and I urge the government to consider further support before they disappear for good.”