London could be placed under a tier three lockdown within a fortnight unless infections fall significantly. The capital saw a case rate of 151 per 100,000 people between October 17-23, up from 111 the week before. Researchers at Imperial College London say the city’s R rate – measuring the speed at which Covid-19 reproduces – could be as high as 2.9, meaning each infected person passes the bug to almost three others. Government sources told Politico it is a matter of ‘when rather than if’ when asked if the capital would be placed under the most severe coronavirus restrictions.
Meanwhile sources close to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was ‘highly likely’ that the city would be moved to the third tier ‘in the coming weeks’. This will mean bars and pubs will be forced to close, unless they offer ‘substantial meals’, while other businesses including gyms, casinos, betting shops and leisure centres may also be told to close. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick refused to rule out the possibility of putting London under tier three. He told Sky News: ‘We haven’t taken those decisions. We are taking action in the places where the evidence very clearly shows the virus is strongest.