London will be under tier 2 lockdown measures in a matter of days, the capital’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has said.
Speaking to British radio LBC on Tuesday, Khan said the average infection rate of London was 90 cases per 100,000.
“We think we’re approaching the trigger point” of entering tier 2 of the three-tiered alert system, Khan said.
“To be really straight and upfront with Londoners,” Khan added, the numbers he had seen indicated that “over the course of the next few days, we will be going to tier 2, which is the ‘high’ tier.”
The capital is currently among the “medium” tier areas, where up to six people from different households can socialize. According to the government guidelines, entering tier 2 would mean Londoners are no longer allowed to socialize with people from a different household in any indoor setting.
In the same interview, Khan weighed in on the government’s decision not to impose a “circuit-breaker” lockdown, which the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had listed as one of the non-pharmaceutical interventions that it said “should be considered for immediate introduction” on Sept. 21.
“The most effective way to slow down the spread of the virus, and to get a grip with it, is a short, two-week circuit-breaker across the country,” Khan said.
“Doing that not simply stops the spread of the virus but also avoids months and months and months of restrictions in tier one, two, or three,” he added.
“I know it sounds tough,” the mayor said about the circuit-breaker lockdown, but it would “ameliorate months and months of us dealing with the health consequences, and the economic consequences as well.”
Robert Jenrick, the minister for housing, communities, and local government, said the UK government has to “take a balanced judgment” while considering advice from different committees, including SAGE.
“These are not easy decisions,” he told BBC Radio 4. “The prime minister has to balance protecting people’s lives and the NHS from the virus, whilst also prioritizing things that matter to us as a society, like education and keeping as many people in employment as possible.”
He said a “blanket national lockdown” would be incredibly damaging.
“We want to try, wherever we can, to avoid a blanket national lockdown. That is incredibly damaging to people’s lives,” he said, adding, “and remember the rate of infection does vary very widely across the country.”
The three-tiered CCP virus alert system, which divides England into medium, high, and very high categories by the areas’ infection rate, is being debated and voted on in Parliament on Tuesday.