New coronavirus restrictions ‘very likely’, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan – South London News

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By Jessie Mathewson, local democracy reporterNew coronavirus restrictions in London are now “highly likely”, the mayor of London said.

Sadiq Khan warned of further measures as government ministers this morning finalized plans for a new three-tier local lockdown system.

The capital is currently in what will be the first tier, classified as medium risk, which means that there are no further restrictions beyond national rules.

But London has been on the lockdown watch list – classified as an area of ​​”greatest national concern” – for more than two weeks.

That means it could soon be moved to level two, or high risk, which would mean a ban on mixing households in the city.

The third, very high-risk level would see the closure of businesses, including pubs and gyms, Liverpool are expected to be the first region to reach this level, starting today.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is chairing an emergency Cobra meeting to clarify final details of the plan this morning – but Mr Khan was not invited.

The mayor did not attend the Cobra meeting last month and was excluded from high-level briefings at the start of the pandemic, when London was then the epicenter of the virus.

The leaders of Liverpool and Manchester, whose cities currently face the most severe restrictions, attacked the government over the weekend for not engaging locally – and Mr Khan echoed their concerns today.

“I fully support the calls of the leaders of the North for a more thorough process of consultation and engagement between the central and local government on decision-making regarding the virus,” he said.

“Our national response would be so much stronger if the government did not treat local leaders as adversaries or with suspicion, but as essential partners in the fight against this pandemic.”

The mayor warned that further restrictions were “highly likely” in London as cases “were rising so rapidly across the city”.

“The fundamental problem – facing Londoners as much as people elsewhere in the UK – is the government’s inability to provide the necessary resources when new restrictions take effect,” he said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Friday that workers in areas facing the toughest new lockdowns will see two-thirds of their wages paid by the government if their employer is forced to shut down.

But Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said that would not be enough and could take his city “back to the eighties”.

Mr Khan echoed his concern by again calling for increased testing and tracing capacity and better employment support.

“As a country, it is vital that we properly support businesses, workers and local authorities to ensure compliance and enforcement of the rules, but also to avoid widespread difficulties,” he said.

Top photo: Sadiq Khan


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