As other parts of the UK face localised lockdowns – and as Covid case numbers continue to rise in Greater London – talk has turned to whether the capital can expect further restrictions to come into play soon.
It can seem a bit like plans around restrictions are being made up on the hoof, but there are some actual ‘trigger points’ that the government is basing local lockdown decisions on. According to the Evening Standard, the ‘London Epidemic Response Escalation Framework’ outlines what kind of rule-tightening will take place once case numbers reach these so-called trigger points. As the number of instances of the virus rises, the restrictions become more severe.
The framework is said to have been agreed upon last Friday (September 11) between Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and local health service leaders.
The newspaper says that the figures due to be announced in London today (Friday September 18) show that cases have risen from 18.8 to around 25 per 100,000 over the last seven days. The framework says that local lockdown would only be considered should the numbers rise to 50 cases per 100,000.
While that’s somewhat reassuring, 25 in 100,000 could touch London’s second trigger point on the roadmap. According to reports, if London has between 20 and 25 cases per 100,000, it means the region would be given a status of ‘national concern’ – which would lead to increased access to mobile testing units as well as more campaigns and outreach.
Reportedly, when numbers reach between 25 and 50, that’s when things like increased mandatory face-mask use and restricted social interactions will be considered. That would also be when local authorities could look to implement measures by London borough, which could include controls such as a 10pm curfew and temporary venue closures, as we’ve seen introduced in the north of England.
Today also saw the London Mayor suggesting that a local lockdown for London could happen in two weeks’ time if the current rate of infection continues. Speaking to the Press Association on the likelihood of a London lockdown, Khan said: ‘We’re looking into all possibilities in London and we’re looking to see which policies across the country are successful. According to the latest evidence I’ve seen, we’re about two weeks behind some parts of the country. That’s why I’m saying to Londoners please follow the advice.’
In terms of a second nationwide lockdown, Hancock today said it would be a ‘last line of defence’, but it was something he refused to rule out as the virus continues to spread.
Feeling triggered? Check out these soothing places in London.