London risks being plunged into Tier 3 before Christmas as the latest official data showed infections are on the rise in two-thirds of boroughs.
Matt Hancock this morning urged Londoners to “stick by the rules” after Public Health England figures released yesterday showed Covid-19 cases rising in 21 out of 32 of the capital’s boroughs.
“My message to everybody in London is ‘let’s stick by the rules’ and not push the boundaries of the rules, but rather try to limit the spread of this infection,” he told LBC Radio.
“Because the case numbers are going up in parts of London, in parts of Essex, in parts of Kent, and we know what happens when case numbers go up — sadly more people end up in hospital and more people end up dying.”
The latest data showed confirmed cases hiked by 47 per cent in Haringey in the week to 2 December, with many boroughs in east London also being particularly affected.
Bromley saw infection rates rise 40 per cent in the last week of lockdown, while spikes of 25 per cent or more were recorded in Bexley, Hackney, Harrow, Kingston and Merton.
Cases are understood to be rising more sharply in the under-18s and over-60s than other age groups.
Ministers and health officials are set to meet on 16 December to review tier allocations across the country — just over a week before Christmas Day.
Local restrictions are set to be eased between 23 and 27 December to allow for festive gatherings, which will see up to three households allowed to mix.
Under current Tier 2 restrictions in London, Liverpool and parts of the North, members of different households are not allowed to meet indoors, though they are allowed to abide by the rule of six in outdoor spaces.
Pubs and bars are only allowed to stay open if they serve a substantial meal alongside alcohol, with venues forced to shut at 11pm.
A move to Tier 3 would see a total ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings among different households, with all pubs, bars and restaurants forced to shutter.
London mayor Sadiq Khan warned that placing London in Tier 3 would be “catastrophic” in the run-up to Christmas.
“If London were to go into Tier 3 it would be catastrophic to those industries already really crippling under the Covid pandemic [and] could mean many shops going bust, many bars, pubs and restaurants going bust,” he told Sky News.