Coronavirus horror: Fears of new London lockdown as infections explode in capital

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Health authorities confirmed new coronavirus restrictions applicable to Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool, Leeds and parts of Wales on Friday. The new measures have raised the alarm in London following a spike in cases and hospital admissions in the capital.

The city’s R rate may currently be as high as 1.5, government advisors have said.

Areas affected by local lockdowns in the North West, North East and the Midlands also had a similar infection rate.

On September 25, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the capital is “at a very worrying tipping point right now”.

Mr Khan also directed criticism toward ministers, saying they must “get a grip” on testing.

He added: “We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions, and patients in ICU.

“The near collapse of test and trace and the resurgence of the virus means new measures to slow its spread were absolutely necessary.

“Testing capacity was diverted away from London in the last two weeks to other national hot spots and weekly testing numbers are now down 43 percent in the capital since mid-August.

“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and it is why London has been added to the Government’s coronavirus watchlist as an area of concern.”

Mr Khan added: “Ministers simply have to get a grip.

“It’s vital that testing capacity is increased immediately in London and focused in the areas it is needed most.

“Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.”

In an attempt to avoid a second lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a series of new restrictions earlier this week.

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The measures include stricter rules on mask-wearing as well as tougher penalties for failure to comply.

Bar staff, retail workers and waiters must now wear a face mask at all times while serving customers.

Pubs, bars and restaurants must now offer table service only and close at 10pm.

Delivery services, however, are allowed to remain open past the 10pm curfew.

But Mr Johnson insisted the new rules do not suggest a full lockdown is being imposed again.

In his Commons address, the Prime Minister said: “I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March.

“We’re not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.

“We will ensure that schools, colleges, universities stay open because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the new rules but warned that the public may be worried that the Government “doesn’t have a strategy”.

He said: “One day people were encouraged to work in the office, in fact more than encouraged, they were openly challenged by the prime minister for not doing so, today they’re told the opposite.

“This is a time of national crisis but we need clear leadership.”

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