Data shows the virus grew in prevalence in much of London over one lockdown week while it fell in most other parts of England
People in London have yet again been warned that they may soon face tougher coronavirus restrictions if they do not follow the current social distancing rules amid a recent surge in cases of COVID-19.
A spokesperson for the city of London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said that winter this year could see a “devastating” rise in the rate of COVID-19 infections if people in the nation’s capital do not obey the current Tier 2 restrictions, with new data showing that cases had risen in 75% of London’s boroughs.
This comes after a 90-year-old grandmother-of-four became the first patient in the world to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccination outside of a trial. Mrs Keenan, who lives in Coventry but is originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, was given the vaccine by nurse May Parsons at Coventry’s University Hospital.
“The number-one way to look out for our loved ones and support local businesses in this festive season is to follow the rules, and do all we can to avoid going back into tougher restrictions later this month or any time in the future,” the spokesman said.
“If we begin to act like this virus has gone away, we could see a devastating further surge in cases at a time of year when our NHS is already under enough pressure.”
Speaking in the Commons, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said “the biggest risk we face now is that people think it’s all over”.
“We have a very important light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re a long way off. It’s not the time to relax things. If that happens we will have a big surge.”
This comes after Doctors, scientists and the hospitality industry all say that Boris Johnson’s plans for a Christmas bubble is a mistake; for five days between the dates of the 23rd and the 27th of December, people throughout the UK will be able to mix with other families in a Christmas bubble.
However, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has said that London’s boroughs could potentially stay within their current tier ratings or even move down one by the Christmas period, but only if people in the nation’s capital stay vigilant.
“There are variations across London borough by borough,” he said.
“But we get advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and from those who are monitoring not just the incidence of the virus, but also the pressure on the NHS, and we do keep these things under review.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson has said that tiering decisions within the nation are based on many factors, which includes how quickly the rates of COVID cases change and the number of infections in those over the age of 60, as well as the pressure on the NHS and “local circumstances”.
“The government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days and areas will move up or down the tiers based on these indicators from local areas,” they said.