Matt Hancock: Don’t rule out new lockdown restrictions in London within days

The Health Secretary said he has spoken with Mayor Sadiq Khan over the weekend about what action is needed in the capital.

Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock

The introduction of new lockdown restrictions in London within days cannot be ruled out, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock said he had spoken with London mayor Sadiq Khan over the weekend about what action is needed in the capital.

And Mr Khan will meet council leaders on Monday to discuss measures for London.

Asked if London office employees could be advised to work from home from some point next week, Mr Hancock told Times Radio: “Well, I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Such a move would be in contrast to the Government’s recent messaging, which has been urging people to get back to their offices following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Coronavirus – Thu Sep 3, 2020
Londoners could be asked to avoid commuting into their offices and work from home instead (Victoria Jones/PA)

It comes as Mr Khan urged ministers to extend the latest regional restrictions – including ordering bars and restaurants to close at 10pm – to cover the capital as well.

Mr Khan said it is “increasingly likely” that lockdown restrictions will soon be needed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The number of cases per 100,000 people over seven days is reported to have increased in London from 18.8 to around 25 earlier in the week.

Mayoral sources said the city was catching up with disease hotspots in the north-west and north-east of England, which have been placed under new controls.

Coronavirus – Sun Sep 20, 2020
Mr Khan is pressing for new coronavirus restrictions amid rising infection rates in the capital (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “The situation is clearly worsening. Sadiq will meet council leaders tomorrow and any London-specific measures will be recommended to ministers following that.

“The mayor wants fast action as we cannot risk a delay, as happened in March. It is better for both health and business to move too early than too late.”

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