London to move into highest level of Covid-19 curbs

From Wednesday onwards, London will move into Tier Three, the highest level in England’s local coronavirus restriction system, the UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced.

According to the latest official figures, from December 2-8, 20,135 people had tested positive in London, a rate of 225 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with 14,901 cases and a rate of 166 cases per 100,000 for the previous week, reports Xinhua news agency.

Parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will also be moved into Tier Three, Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons (lower house of the British Parliament) on Monday.

For businesses, it will be a significant blow, he said, adding that a new variant of coronavirus has been identified in Britain.

“We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas. And numbers are increasing rapidly,” he said.

England is currently under a new three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions.

The system, which put about 98 per cent of England into the highest Tier Two and Three, is due to be reviewed on Wednesday.

Under Tier Three, bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants in London will have to close, except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services.

In addition, theatres in the UK capital city will have to close their doors once more.

According to the governmental guidance, Tier Three also means that local people must not socialize in a group of more than six in some outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility — this is called the “rule of six”.

As of Tuesday, the UK’s overall Covid-19 caseload and death toll stood at 1,874,867 and 64,500, respectively.