Tough new coronavirus restrictions for London have moved closer after Downing Street refused to rule out a fresh crackdown.
As mayor Sadiq Khan signalled new curbs were likely in “the next few days”, Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said the government would “not hesitate to act” on any rise in admissions to hospitals and intensive care units.
The capital is currently in the “tier 1” or “medium risk” category created by the government, but will soon be moved into the “tier 2” or “high risk” category that will ban separate households from mixing indoors and in pubs and restaurants, Khan suggested.
The mayor said it was “inevitable” that the shift would happen and said the “trigger point” would be when London moved past 100 Covid cases per 100,000 of population. As of Tuesday, that figure was 68.9.
The government said decisions were made about local lockdowns using more than just the infection rate.
Sam Tarry, a Labour MP in London, went further and called for a two-week “circuit break” for the whole capital that would shut pubs, restaurants and other businesses as in Scotland.
The PM’s official spokesperson said: “There’s a process for considering whether further measures are needed in all parts of the country and I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to pre-empt that.
“We look at a wide range of different data and take advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and local health officials on the ground, so we look not only at infection rates but also the rate of positive tests, admissions to hospitals, and admissions to intensive care units.
“We continue to closely monitor the data in all parts of England and I think we have shown that if it’s judged additional measures are necessary we haven’t hesitated to act.”
Khan has said it is inevitable the capital will pass a “trigger point” to enter the higher tier 2 coronavirus restrictions in the “next few days”.
London is initially expected to be put on...