London Tories split on tiered approach after Covid lockdown | UK News


Leading London conservatives are divided over whether different lockdown rules should be imposed in different areas of the capital based on local infection rates.The mayor, Sadiq Khan, claimed there was a consensus that the Tier 2 restrictions be introduced in London next week when the current lockdown is relaxed.

London case

“The leaders of London have worked closely together on a multi-stakeholder basis and are united on this point: our city entering Level 2 next week would seem like the right and sensible decision,” he tweeted.

But this apparent deal threatens to crumble after lobbying by Conservative MPs to allow areas with lower infection rates to have less stringent restrictions. The latest public figures show that infection rates per 100,000 inhabitants in the 32 wards of the capital vary from 113 in Camden to 387 in Havering.

Tory Kensington MP Felicity Buchan lobbied for a reduction in restrictions in her region during a virtual meeting with Health Minister Nadine Dorries on Tuesday. A WhatsApp summary of the meeting said: “Felicity is trying to recruit Nadine in her opinion that there should be different levels in different parts of London. Felicity failed.

Harrow East MP Bob Blackman called for a “district by district” system. “I’m concerned that the district with the lowest infection rate will be lumped into the same bag as the one with the highest,” he told The Telegraph.

Tory MPs Gareth Bacon and Bob Neil, whose neighboring ridings cover Bromley, also support “Rounding variations”. His infection rate is 171.

Last month, in a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, which was endorsed by Neil, Bacon said: “I am specifically asking if there is any evidence as to whether the capital should be treated as one. entity subject to foreclosure restrictions. ” At the time, he requested that Orpington be placed at Level 1.

But Andrew Boff, Conservative vice-chairman of the London Assembly health committee, is holding up at differential levels in London.

He told The Guardian: “The more complex it gets, the more likely it is to be a complete failure. People have already struggled to understand the system on different levels, can you imagine that multiplied by 32? ”

He added: “There are different infection rates in London, but most of them continue to rise. We cannot run the risk that hospitals will be totally overwhelmed by Covid cases and people losing their lives for lack of medical care, and that is what would happen.


Boff favors Level 2 for all of London but would accept Level 3 if there was evidence that it was needed. He also criticized comments by Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for mayor in London, that Level 3 would be disastrous for London.

He said: “The London disaster is the pandemic, not the measures we are using to quell it. There is no point in telling the government that this is a disaster. We have to fight it. For all those who say we shouldn’t bother and adopt this stupid model that Sweden adopted in its infancy, they have to wonder if it would be okay for hospitals to be full.

Onkar Sahota of Labor, a general practitioner who chairs the London Assembly health committee, agreed. He said: “Separating London into its 32 boroughs would be chaotic. Our police, ambulance and transportation systems are all integrated. It would be very difficult to control and people would be very confused. And there isn’t a huge variation in infections in London. The worst is 387 per 100,000 and the average for London is around 197. ”

Dr Sahota predicted that London would be placed at level 2. He said: ‘If you look at other parts of the country, 400 cases per 100,000 were the trigger for level 3, and there is only one. only London borough that even comes close to this. ”

Rupa Huq, Labor MP for Ealing Central and Acton, said: ‘Although London is below the English average for infections, it should not be punished by pushing it to level 3. And whatever the message, it is easier if it is consistent. . The government should ignore Conservative MPs who are asking for differential levels.

She added: “The 10pm curfew has to end because it was massively counterproductive when there was the same time out for everyone.”


Boff agreed: “The closure of pubs at 10pm and now 11pm is absolutely ridiculous. They just put it back for an hour. They don’t understand how people behave, if you give people more time they may overwhelm the transportation system. It is safer to give people more options over the time they leave these places. ”

The second wave is proving to be much less virulent in London than in the spring, when the pandemic struck the capital first and hardest.

City-wide infections rose steadily from 16 per 100,000 on September 1 to 157 on October 26, but then started to decline. But they rose again from November 3, which public health officials blamed on the brewing between households during a mid-term school week and people enjoying a “last hurray” before. the start of the second lockdown on November 5.

They peaked at 199.4 on November 14 – the highest number recorded in the second wave – but fell every day after that to 187.4 on November 19, last Thursday.

A public health official said: “The numbers have gone down, but only in the last few days. We are in this down-to-the-minute limbo as ideally we would like to see several more days of data before the decision on the London level is made. It goes to the wire.

The latest data from Public Health England shows London is the region in England where the lowest proportion of NHS staff and hospital patients tested for coronavirus test positive – just 3%. However, many more people who are tested in the community, for example at drive-thru centers, turn out to be positive – 12.5%.

Unlike many hospitals in the north of England and the Midlands, those in London have fewer cases than in the first wave. As of Monday, 1,675 hospital beds in the capital were occupied by people with Covid, 977 (140%) more than a month earlier. The number of mechanically ventilated patients has also increased sharply in the past month, from 99 on October 23 to 252 on Monday – up 155%.


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