London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident,” as he says that the spread of the coronavirus in the British capital is now “out of control.”
“We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS [National Health Service] could be overwhelmed and more people will die,” Khan said in a statement, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
“The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,” he said.
Britain has had very high numbers of infections in the past few days. London is particularly hard hit. The hospitals are already largely full. The government and experts blame a new, possibly more contagious virus variant.
The so-called seven-day incidence of new infections per week per 100,000 inhabitants in the British capital is now more than 1,000.
The number of Covid-19 patients treated in hospital in London rose by almost a third in the first week of January alone, and the number of intensive care patients rose by more than 40 per cent, according to the mayor’s statement.
England has gone back into lockdown until March 31, meaning there are few international arrivals.
Many other countries have long since had rules in place that require a negative coronavirus test as a condition of entry.