London added to coronavirus watch list as “area of great concern”

By Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter

London has been added to the national coronavirus watch list as an area of great concern, as infections rise in the capital.

There will be no new restrictions at present, but the change in status reflects higher risks in the city.

But it means the city could face a local lockdown if cases continue to climb. There were 620 infections confirmed in the last 24 hours.

However a separate report claimed infections had in fact plateaued since the start of September.

London Councils – the group representing all 33 local authorities in the city – said the general rise was a “stark reminder” to residents that they must follow new rules.

The organisation called for a sustained boost to Covid-19 testing in the capital so infections could be monitored.

Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell said it was “disgraceful” that capacity has been insufficient.

“We can get through this, wearing our masks and keeping our distance but oh for some government competence,” she said in a Tweet.

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Tuesday, all pubs, bars, and restaurants must shut at 10pm, only table service is allowed, taxi drivers, waiters, bar staff and shop workers have to wear a mask, only 15 people can attend a wedding, down from 30 and plans for fans to go back to sports matches are on hold.

People cannot meet with those outside their social bubble in groups of more than six.

Social distancing rules remain in place, meaning everyone should stay two metres from others outside their household bubble, or use mitigations to reduce the risk, like keeping contact short and wearing a face mask.

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