Mayor Sadiq Khan says “near collapse” of test and trace blamed for London being added to Government coronavirus watch list

By Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter

Sadiq Khan has blamed the “near collapse of test and trace” as London was added to the national coronavirus watch list on Friday.

There will be no new restrictions in the capital at present, but the city will be monitored as an “area of greatest concern”.

The Mayor said London was at a “very worrying tipping point” as 111 calls and hospital admissions grow.

Some 620 cases of coronavirus were confirmed on Thursday in the capital, despite weekly testing numbers being down 43 per cent since mid-August.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

And contact tracers were still struggling to reach those who could have the virus – with just 70 per cent reached in the best performing borough, Lambeth.

East London is faring worst, with just 51 per cent of at risk people reached in Hackney and the City of London, and similarly low figures across neighbouring areas.

“Testing capacity was diverted away from London in the past two weeks to other national hot spots,” Mr Khan warned.

“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and it is why London has been added to the Government’s coronavirus watch list as an area of concern.

“Ministers simply have to get a grip. It’s vital that testing capacity is increased immediately in London and focused in the areas it is needed most.

“Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.”

Mr Khan said London’s new high risk status showed new restrictions brought in nationally this week were “absolutely necessary”.

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