London Placed On High COVID-19 Alert

London has been moved from the medium and placed on an Tier 2, high COVID 19 alert following the sharp rise in the number of cases in the capital.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, following close discussions with local leaders, the following areas will move from local COVID alert level: medium to local COVID alert level: high

  • London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)

  • Elmbridge

  • Essex (area covered by Essex County Council only)

  • Barrow-in-Furness

  • York

  • North East Derbyshire

  • Erewash

  • Chesterfield

The alert will take effect from Saturday 17 October at 00:01am

This means that for these areas, strictly restrictions including the following measures will be in place:

  • people must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place

  • people must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space

  • people should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.

The rate of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly across the UK. The ONS estimate that one in every 240 people in England had the virus in the week from 25 September to 1 October and that the numbers infected are doubling every seven to 12 days. Cases are not evenly spread, with infection rates rising more rapidly in some areas than others.

In London, infection rates are on a steep upward path, with the number of cases detected through NHS Test and Trace doubling over the last ten days. The 7-day average case rate today stands at 97 per 100,000 people, rising sharply. In 13 boroughs the rate is now above 100 per 100,000 people, with Hackney at 134, Richmond upon Thames at 138 and Ealing at 144.

The first peak demonstrated that the infection can spread fast and put huge pressure on the NHS. So having discussed with local leaders the government has taken the decision to act now to bring infection down.

All available data for the areas that will move to local COVID alert level: high on Saturday has been assessed by the government, including the Health and Social Care Secretary, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), Public Health England (PHE), the Chief Medical Officer and the Cabinet Office. Data assessed includes incidence, test positivity and the growth rate of the virus.

It is essential that these outbreaks are contained to protect lives and our NHS, and prevent greater economic damage in the future. We face a new challenge as we head into the winter, and we know that even mild cases of COVID-19 can have devastating consequences for people in all age groups, along with the risk of long COVID.