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14 Dec, 2020 15:50

London to move into highest tier of Covid restrictions, health secretary tells MPs

London to move into highest tier of Covid restrictions, health secretary tells MPs

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs that London will move to Tier 3 Covid restrictions at 12:01am local time on Wednesday morning after officials became concerned about a sharp rise in infections across the capital. 

Speaking on a call with MPs, Matt Hancock said that, in consultation with health experts and officials, due to the rapid increase in daily Covid-19 infections, the government is moving London to the highest level of coronavirus restrictions. A number of other covid-impacted areas will also be placed under additional restrictions. 

Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq tweeted about the health secretary’s revelation, calling it the “worst kept secret ever confirmed” and warning her constituents that London, Essex, Watford, Hertsmere and Broxbourne will all face the stricter measures. 

While not required by Tier 3 measures, schools in London are also being closed, with children asked to participate online for the remainder of the term. However, this was expected regardless of the government’s decision, given that the mayor of London earlier urged all secondary schools and colleges to shut after data showed significant outbreaks among 10 to 19 year old’s.

Also on rt.com Labour split on school closures as London mayor calls for them to shut ahead of possible tier three lockdown for capital

It is not currently clear how the London Tier 3 move will impact the government’s plans to relax coronavirus restrictions over the Christmas period, due from December 23 to 27, which would allow three households to form a so-called bubble, mix indoors and stay overnight. 

However, NHS providers have urged people to think “really carefully” about travelling home for Christmas and increasing their social contacts.

Last week, London recorded the highest spike in England for the percentage of individuals testing positive for coronavirus in the seven days to December 5. On December 11, around 4,710 people in the capital tested positive for Covid-19 – nearly double the 2,402 new daily infections recorded only five days earlier. London currently has the highest coronavirus infection rate in England.

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