London on ‘high alert’ after corona surge new curbs in Essex, York and other areas

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LONDON: Due to surge in Covid-19, London will move to ‘high alert’ from Saturday – the second of the three-tier system introduced by the Boris Johnson government earlier this week – as new Covid-19 cases surged across various boroughs of the British capital.

“Things will get worse before they get better”, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in the House of Commons, announcing new curbs in Essex, York and other areas. This means half of England’s population is now under local lockdowns.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, corona logo

MPs and local leaders from Manchester were in intense talks with Downing Street over placing the Greater Manchester area in the highest Tier 3 level, which would mean closing pubs, restaurants and other venues, and other restrictions. Liverpool and some areas of Leicester are already under toughest curbs in Tier 3.

Hancock said the pandemic has forced “some of the most difficult choices any government has to make in peacetime”.

Meanwhile, anyone arriving from overseas must currently self-isolate for 14 days unless they have travelled from an exempt destination but this list has grown thin. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the virtual ABTA travel industry conference on Tuesday that travellers will begin to self-isolate at home before taking a coronavirus test a week after landing, according to the Telegraph.

He also ruled out testing on arrival at UK airports and ports. It comes after the UK’s travel sector’s repeated calls for testing at airports in order to reduce quarantine periods. “We’re proposing a domestic test regime, where people land and wait a week, have a test and get early release,” Mr Shapps told the conference.

Mr Shapps reportedly said that the tests will be provided by the private sector and paid for by the traveller to prevent putting extra strain on the NHS.

“We’re also proposing an internationally recognised system, in which Britain would be a trailblazer, where tests and isolation take place prior to travel and after travel and would require no quarantine,” Mr Shapps added.