London Mayor Sadiq Khan declares major incident in city



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Patients arrive in ambulances at the Royal London Hospital on January 5, 2021 in London, England. The British Prime Minister gave a speech on national television on Monday evening, announcing that England would enter its third lockdown in the covid-19 pandemic. This week, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed cases of Covid for the seventh day in a row.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON – The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, declared a major incident on Friday over the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the British capital.

He had previously warned that the virus was “out of control” and that the National Health Service was “about to be overwhelmed”.

“I have declared a major incident in London because the threat this virus poses to our city is in crisis,” Khan said via Twitter.

“One in 30 Londoners now has COVID-19. If we don’t act immediately our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die,” he added.

Major incidents have already been reported following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and the terrorist attacks on Westminster Bridge in March 2017 and London Bridge in November 2019.

The announcement comes shortly after weekly data through January 2 revealed that London’s coronavirus infection rate had climbed to 1,038 per 100,000 population. That figure compares to a city-wide infection rate of 818 per 100,000 for the previous week.

For comparison, the national infection rate was 612 per 100,000 for the week ending Jan. 2.

Live health facilities

The increased pressure on the city’s already stressed health facilities coincides with the resurgence in the spread of Covid-19, as the UK struggles to contain a highly infectious variant of the virus.

The Health Service Journal reported, citing a leaked NHS England briefing to the capital’s most experienced doctors on Wednesday, that hospitals in London were on track to be overwhelmed by Covid within two weeks.

The report states that the NHS England presentation projected that, even if additional Covid patients were to increase at the slowest rate considered likely, the capital’s health service would run out of nearly 2,000 general and acute and intensive care beds in ‘by January 19.

NHS England was not immediately available for comment on the report when contacted by CNBC on Friday.

A nurse adjusts her PPE in the ICU (intensive care unit) at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, where the number of critically ill intensive care beds has had to be increased by 60 to 120, the vast majority of which are for coronavirus patients.

Victoria Jones – PA Images | PA Pictures | Getty Images

Daily balance sheet hits record

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced the third national lockdown for England in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. He urged people to “stay at home” as in March 2020 during the country’s first national lockdown. The measures legally entered into force on Wednesday.

To date, the UK has recorded 2.89 million cases of Covid-19, with 78,633 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. On Friday, the government reported that 1,325 more people had died within 28 days of testing positive, its highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

In recent weeks, optimism about the mass deployment of Covid vaccines appears to have been tempered by the rate of resurgence of the virus spread.

The UK on Friday approved Moderna’s Covid vaccine for emergency use in the country. It is the third vaccine to be approved for use in Britain, following previous vaccine approvals from Pfizer and BioNTech and the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

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