The deadly virus is now believed to be spreading in boroughs of the city which previously had low or medium rates. London has already been declared an area of COVID-19 concern since September 25, when there were just over 600 new cases a day.
On Monday, Public Health England (PHE) had admitted that a technical issue had meant 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were left out of daily reports.
Tougher lockdown measures may be on the way for London as the city’s mayor issued a stark warning on Tuesday about a rapid spread of coronavirus across the UK capital, with COVID-19 hospitalisations tripling in the last month. London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on people to continue following the rules and observe hygiene measures in order to slow the spread of infections, as the UK reported 12,594 additional coronavirus infections even as confusion persists around nearly 16,000 cases which had gone unrecorded due to a software glitch in the official Test and Trace system. “Coronavirus is spreading quickly & widely across London, with the number of people hospitalised for the disease tripling in the past month,” Khan said in a Twitter statement.
“London is at a crucial stage in our fight against coronavirus. We cannot relax our attitudes to what is still an extreme threat to the health and safety of our city,” he said, urging Londoners to continue to wear a face mask, wash hands and stick to the ‘rule of six’ for any gatherings.
The deadly virus is now believed to be spreading in boroughs of the city which previously had low or medium rates. London has already been declared an area of COVID-19 concern since September 25, when there were just over 600 new cases a day. That figure rose to 1,029 on October 1, with more recent data expected to show a far greater spike.
Khan said he had spoken to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock alongside regional mayors from across England and warned that the Test and Trace system was “letting London and the country down”. “The delay in reporting nearly 16,000 cases and the tracking of their close contacts is the latest debacle from the government’s disastrous Test and Trace system. London is at a very serious tipping point and with cases rising it’s essential that we have an accurate picture of the number of cases, and that their contacts are urgently told to self-isolate,” he said.
The mayor as well as local council leaders across the city are said to be calling for tougher lockdown measures for the UK capital, with several areas already putting their own measures in place and urging people to avoid visits between different households.
On Monday, Public Health England (PHE) had admitted that a technical issue had meant 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were left out of daily reports. A problem with an Excel spreadsheet reaching its maximum size has been blamed.
The government has said that around 60 per cent of the cases have since been contacted a second time, with efforts to trace their contacts going on alongside. Speaking in the House of Commons, Hancock said: “The chief medical officer has analysed that our assessment of the disease and its impact has not substantially changed as a result of these data.” However, the Opposition parties have lashed out at the government for the error, which meant that the weekly analysis of the infection rate across the country shot up several fold.
Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for tougher restrictions in Scotland from later this week but confirmed that the region would not be placed into a full lockdown. She did not rule out local travel restrictions being introduced, or the possible closure of pubs and restaurants, in areas with higher rates of the virus as 800 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Scotland.
Each of the regions of the United Kingdom have been setting their own localised lockdown restrictions with a broadly similar approach of clamping down on large gatherings and closure of leisure venues by 10pm.