New restrictions – including only essential public transport use – likely for London, says director of public health in west London

By Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter

Londoners are likely to be advised in the near future to only use public transport for essential journeys, according to the director of public health for Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.

Russell Styles was speaking yesterday during an online meeting of officials from both boroughs, which cover much of Central London.

Mr Styles was asked what lockdown measures he expected to be placed over London, and when.

He replied: “In terms of any kind of lockdown, it’s likely to be on a regional basis.

“Once London gets to a rate of 100 (cases) per 100,000, then there would be wider discussions in terms of advice.

“So the advice would be very likely nothing but essential travel, for example, which will come in next week.”

If that does happen, it would be the first time since July 4 that non-essential travel has been discouraged on London’s public transport.

It is being widely reported that the Prime Minister will give a speech next week, in which he will set out a three-tier “traffic light” system for applying restrictions across England.

The Sun reported yesterday that, under the PM’s new plans, areas with an infection rate of more than 50 cases per 100,000 people will have a “red” alert.

Such areas may see full closures of all pubs and restaurant, although this has not been decided.

A London-wide infection rate of 66.6 cases per 100,000 people was quoted at the meeting.

But this may already be an outdated figure, which underestimates the infection rate.

The latest figures from yesterday show that Richmond upon Thames now has the highest infection rate in London, at 112.1 cases per 100,000 people.

Redbridge’s rate is not far behind at 108.8, with Ealing and Harrow’s rates also above 90.

In Westminster and Kennington and Chelsea the infection rates stand at 68.5 and 82.0 respectively.

Sutton has the lowest infection rate of London’s 32 boroughs, at 39.3 per 100,000.

Mr Styles also said there was growing evidence that more older people were getting infected in the community, although the majority of cases are in people aged 18 to 30.

He added that Covid-related hospital admissions were rising in the capital, and that hospital admissions usually “lag” by two weeks behind rises in local infection rates.

Picture top: Londoners could soon only be allowed to use the Tube for essential journeys according to a west London health chief

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