The capital is set to see tough new coronavirus measures imposed from midnight on Saturday as the city enters Tier 2 of the Government’s Covid alert system. The move means that residents will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the new measures to MPs in the House of Commons this morning, as he warned that Covid-19 “is now spreading exponentially in the UK”.
Essex, Elmbridge, York, Barrow in Furness, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also be placed under “high risk” alert. Large areas of the North of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands could soon be placed in the “very high risk” Tier 3, which currently only applies to Liverpool City Region. This means that half the population of England will now be in either Tier 2 or 3 of the Covid alert system, following the announcement.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan spoke of the ‘False dichotomy’ between saving the economy and saving lives, saying that the two were not mutually exclusive. Khan said that the government needed to reverse the downgrading of support for workers and businesses, stating: “We need to see a much bigger and more expansive job protection scheme, targeted grants and loans for the worst-affected sectors and geographic areas, and an extension to the business rates holiday, which is due to end in March.”
He spoke of the crucial and unique contribution that Central London makes to the UK’s economy: It’s our country’s economic and cultural powerhouse and a gateway for global tourism and investment into the rest of Britain. Last year, the combined output of London’s Central Activities Zone and Canary Wharf accounted for over a tenth of all UK output. Permanent damage to it now would downgrade the prosperity of the whole of the country for many decades to come. If London doesn’t recover, our nation won’t recover.”
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