Coronavirus: London councils develop own level 2 exit plan

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock was criticized today for failing to reveal London’s escape route against Level 2 restrictions.

The town hall said it was developing its own “de-escalation plans” to bring the capital back to level 1, but warned that many indicators are currently heading in the wrong direction.

The key measure of the number of infections per 100,000 Londoners is currently 146.9, according to the government’s Covid Scoreboard – well above the ‘threshold’ to enter Level 2 of 100 cases per 100,000.

When Mr Hancock told the House of Commons on October 15 that the capital would move to Level 2 restrictions on October 17, he said the restrictions would be reviewed every fortnight and pledged to release “details of how London can come out of these measures ”after demands from all parties.

But Lib Dem health spokeswoman Munira Wilson said no details had been released and the targets London had to hit to escape Level 2 remained unclear.

The Twickenham MP told The Standard: “When you ask people to cut their lives short… you have to explain what the thresholds are for entering a particular level and exiting. We need clear communications. ”

Sixteen of the 322 deaths reported in England yesterday were in London. But the number of Covid patients in London hospitals has doubled in a fortnight to 738 – a figure last seen at the end of May.

There is also a disparity in the number of new cases diagnosed. Ealing’s weekly infection rate is 215 cases per 100,000 population, but Lewisham is 100.

UCL experts today unveiled an alternative Covid dashboard to increase public understanding of the pandemic.

Prof Christina Pagel, from UCL, said it was not clear what a region needs to do to move down. “I think Mr Hancock said they need to show a steady reduction in cases, but what that means is not entirely clear,” she told The Standard.

A spokesperson for the mayor said today: “Before moving to level 2, Sadiq and council leaders tasked PHE with developing de-escalation criteria. This now goes through a national authorization process. The Department of Health has been asked for comment.

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