London WILL move to Tier 3 on Wednesday: Hancock briefs MPs about new restrictions

Sadiq Khan addresses 'possibility' on London going into Tier 3

With coronavirus cases in the capital soaring, the Government have taken emergency action to put London into the strictest restrictions in less than 48 hours time. The first official review period for the coronavirus tiers was meant to be on announced on Thursday and not due to come into effect until Saturday.

However, the seven-day case rate has risen in 32 local authority areas in the capital compared to last week and the number of cases is now doubling at a rate of every seven days.

Data published last week showed case rates per 100,000 people in London stood at 191.8, putting the city ahead of regions that have stricter rules in place, such as the West Midlands.

The new restrictions in London will come into place from 12.01am on Wednesday.

Parts of Hertfordshire and Essex will also be moved into the toughest tier.

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This morning Boris Johnson chaired a meeting of Covid-0, a Cabinet sub-committee, to consider the latest data for the three areas.

The new restrictions will see all pubs and restaurants close except for takeaways.

It will mean almost 14,000 pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will now be forced to once again close their doors.

Hospitality venues in the capital have been open for less than a month, having been forced to shut down until December 2 during England’s month-long second lockdown.

However, schools will remain open until the end of the term on Thursday.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan had called on the Government to move schools to online learning in a bid to curb the infection rate.

The number of coronavirus cases in the capital has seen the biggest surge among 11 to 18-year-olds.

He said: “It’s worth looking where the virus is spreading faster and it’s worth looking at the areas where we have seen the biggest increase.

“It’s worth them asking themself the question: whether a move to Tier 3 is a blunt instrument that doesn’t really address in a laser-like fashion where we are seeing the biggest problems.”

Schools in Greenwich and Islington have already made the decision to shut from today due to the rapidly rising infection rate.

However, this afternoon, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We’ve consistently said that not being in school has a detrimental impact on children’s learning as well as their own personal development and mental health.

“Which is why we expect all schools and colleges to remain open until the end of term on Thursday as schools have remained open throughout the pandemic.”

More to follow…

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