Tier 3 may be on the cards for London by Christmas.
We were finally able to stop living la vida lockdown when London entered Tier 2 last week, but 2020 strikes again. Recent figures reveal a rise in Covid cases across the capital and experts are now calling for Tier 3 restrictions to prevent a huge surge. Tier 3 is the highest alert level and would prohibit mixing with other households indoors (excluding support bubbles) and only allow pubs and bars to open for takeaways and deliveries.
Data from Public Health England has shown that during the last week of lockdown, Covid infection rates rose by 12%. Between November 26 and December 2, 174 cases per 100,000 population were documented, compared to 156 cases the week before. Since entering Tier 2, figures have continued to rise. As it stands, over 60% of London’s boroughs are exceeding the average figure for England of 149 cases per 100,000, with some areas reaching up to 319. In comparison, dozens of cities already in Tier 3 have much lower rates. Bristol, for example, currently has a rate of 141 per 100,000 population.
These worrying figures have lead government officials and health experts to reevaluate London’s strategy for containing the virus. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The number-one way to look out for our loved ones and support local businesses in this festive season is to follow the rules and do all we can to avoid going back into tougher restrictions, later this month or any time in the future.”
Others are less optimistic, calling for urgent government action and tighter restrictions. According to John Ashton, former regional director of public health for north-west England, “[The government] needs to decide in the next 48 hours whether to move London into Tier 3, otherwise they really risk a terrible situation for London. With deaths going up during the Christmas period, they might have to go to complete lockdown.” The government is set to address England’s tiered restrictions next Wednesday (December 16).