LONDON: Medical experts have warned that London should be placed in tier three “now” to avoid a spike in deaths over Christmas. The city saw a spike in Covid-19 cases at the end of England-wide lockdown on 2 December, new figures have revealed.
BBC has reported that the government officials are due to meet on 16 December to review what tier each area should be allocated.
Prof John Ashton, author of Blinded by Corona, said “if London doesn’t want hospitals to be full over Christmas the government need to get a grip today”. “Deaths will start going up during the Christmas period and new year unless something is done,” said Prof Ashton, a former regional director of public health for north-west England.
PHE data shows 21 of London’s 32 boroughs have infection rates higher than the overall rate for England of 150 cases per 100,000 people.
Taken together, London’s outer boroughs have an infection rate of 205 cases per 100,000 – higher than the current rate in Leicestershire, Tees Valley or Bristol, all of which are in tier three restrictions. Havering, in east London, has a rate at 362 per 100,000.
From 23 December lockdown restriction will be eased to allow up to three households to meet up for five days over Christmas. People can mix in homes, places of worship and outdoor spaces, and travel restrictions will also be eased.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said there were questions about the timing of placing stricter restrictions before the Christmas break. He said; “There’s growing speculation among political leaders in the capital that London needs to move to the highest tier.
“Some question whether it would be effective for London to move to a tougher regime for only a few days before the festive period – when conditions are being loosened across the country.” Mr Khan urged Londoners to follow the rules to avoid a further surge in cases.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Tiering decisions are based on a range of criteria including how quickly case rates are going up or down, cases in the over 60s, pressure on the NHS and local circumstances.