Khan warns Omicron restrictions now ‘inevitable’ for London ‘Direction of travel one way’

Sadiq Khan says that new covid restrictions are ‘inevitable’

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Sadiq Khan declared a major emergency for London on Saturday after the number of reported coronavirus cases in the Capital hit 130,000 in seven days. Mr Khan said further restrictions for the city as well as the rest of the country are not “inevitable”. He also demanded additional financial support from the Government to help businesses facing major disruption because of the new wave of infections.

Asked whether new restrictions will be coming, the Mayor of London told Andrew Marr: “I think if new restrictions are brought in, and by the way, it’s inevitable, there must be a major package of financial support for our hospitality, culture, and retail.

“December is the crucial month for them, people have had cancelled booking, people aren’t going to the West End.

“The Government must step in because the health of individuals is linked to the health of our economy.”

He continued “I’m afraid over the last few days we’ve seen a major surge of Omicron.

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“Although those in hospital is less than it was this time last year, including those on ventilators, the number of positive cases is way above.

“In the last 24 hours, we’ve had almost 30,000 confirmed new cases, in the last seven days, more than 130,000 confirmed new cases, so the direction of travel is only going one way.”

Mr Khan voiced concerns the rise in infections could affect emergency and public services if large number of staff is forced to isolate.

He added: “Cases doubling over two days. But here’s the big problem – those who work in the NHS, but also the fire service, police service, local authorities, they’ve seen record numbers of staff absences.

 

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“And our worry is for our ability to look after people that are unwell or need public services.

“That’s why we’ve declared the major emergency, the Prime Minister has convened a COBRA – I won’t be there, I’m not invited. We’re hoping he understands the scale of the challenge our city is facing.”

He added: “If we don’t bring in new restrictions sooner rather than later you’re going to see even more positive cases and potentially public services like the NHS on the verge of collapse, if not collapsing.”

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Sajid Javid told Sky News the British Government is monitoring the latest COVID-19 data on an almost hourly basis and will do whatever is necessary to tackle the spread.

The Health Secretary said analysis of the data suggested around 60 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in England are the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

He however insisted the country was in a better position than last Christmas thanks to things such as vaccinations and testing.

Asked about reports of possible further measures, Mr Javid said: “We will do what is necessary but it has got to be backed up by the data … we are watching the data, discussing it with our scientists and our best advisers almost on an hourly basis and we will monitor that very carefully we will keep the situation under review.”

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