Tower Hamlets has become the first London borough to ask residents to stop mixing, as the Government comes under increasing pressure to place the whole city under local lockdown.
The borough’s mayor John Biggs asked households to avoid meeting each other ‘unless absolutely necessary’ in an open letter due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
Tower Hamlets’ rate for the seven days to September 28 was 44 cases per 100,000 people, up from 38.5 the previous week.
Mr Biggs called the situation a ‘matter of life and death’ and said urgent action was required, adding that the borough had one of the highest levels of Covid-19 in London.
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs asked residents to avoid visiting each other ‘unless absolutely necessary’ in an open letter due to a rise in coronavirus cases
He wrote: ‘Despite a fall over the summer, we are seeing cases of Covid-19 rise and we need to accept that the situation is once again worsening.
‘Tower Hamlets now has one of the highest levels of Covid-19 in London.
‘As a second rise in infections hits us, we must take all steps necessary to limit the spread of the virus and protect those most at risk.’
He added: ‘I am clear that the current national rules are a minimum and my advice to you all is to do everything in your power to protect each other.
‘Our individual actions have consequences for us all. The next few months will be very challenging.
A high-stakes political meeting is due to take place to decide whether London should face restrictions like those in Liverpool and Newcastle, it emerged yesterday. Pictured: Passengers at Canning Town Station on London underground on Friday
‘Without a vaccine or more effective treatment, our primary weapon against the virus is responsible behaviour.
‘Measures to curb the spread of the virus will only work if people follow them.’
Deputy mayor of Tower Hamlets Rachel Blake told the Evening Standard: ‘We have to be really open with people about how serious this is.
‘We’ve got the fourth highest infection rate in London.
‘Our evidence shows that households visits is a high area of transmission and that is why we are asking people to avoid visiting other households.’
It came after it emerged yesterday a high-stakes political meeting is due to take place to decide whether London should face restrictions like those in Liverpool and Newcastle.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and councils in the capital have urged the Government to implement additional measures for Londoners
Any such moves are likely to face a sharp uproar from businesses still reeling from the last lockdown and last week’s decision to get people working from home again.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and other councils in the capital have urged the Government to implement additional measures for Londoners, but so far no extra restrictions have been put in place by ministers.
A spokesperson for Mr Khan warned last week that London was at a ‘very worrying tipping point’ and ‘immediate action’ was needed to regain control of the virus.
The spokesman said: ‘One in three Britons will be living under tougher Covid-19 rules than the rest of the country tomorrow, despite data showing local lockdowns don’t work in most places and that infection rates have actually risen.
On Monday, leader of Redbridge Council Jas Athwal called for an immediate ban on different households mixing in the most overcrowded areas to prevent the situation getting worse
‘From Saturday, two million residents in Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough will be banned from meeting people they don’t live with indoors in a bid to curtail outbreaks there.’
On Monday, leader of Redbridge Council Jas Athwal called for an immediate ban on different households mixing in the most overcrowded areas to prevent the situation getting worse.
‘Quite clearly I think in overcrowded parts of London we have got to be looking at bringing that in so that different households can’t mix,’ he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
‘Mixing face-to-face should be stopped immediately because there are problems and we are seeing there the pandemic take hold. It is only going to get worse with the flu season coming into play as well.’
The Tube system is running a full service but receiving only a third of regular passengers numbers
In contrast, Transport Commissioner Andy Byford urged people to use the London Underground more, saying tests by scientists had found it was clear of coronavirus.
The system is running a full service but receiving only a third of regular passengers numbers.
Swab tests were carried out on escalators, smartcard readers and grab handles, plus buttons and handrails on buses by Imperial College researchers.
Air samples were also taken at locations including Euston and Waterloo stations.
Mr Byford told the Evening Standard: ‘We are ready when you are ready. The system is safe. We encourage people to use it.’
Andy Byford (pictured) wants perople back on the Tube. But Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs has told households to stop mixing
One in three Britons will be living under tougher Covid-19 rules than the rest of the country tomorrow, despite data showing local lockdowns don’t work in most places and that infection rates have actually risen.
From Saturday, two million residents in Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough will be banned from meeting people they don’t live with indoors in a bid to curtail outbreaks there.
It will mean a total of 22.4million Brits will be living under some form of economically crippling and socially restricting local shutdown.
Ministers have justified the measures by claiming they are the only way to stop a second national wave of the disease.
But data shows Covid-19 infections have doubled in the majority of areas in England that have been subject to long-term restrictions.
The proportion travelling to workplaces slipped from 64 per cent to 59 per cent, after the government’s guidance shifted to recommend doing it where possible
Coronaphobia is back: Just 20 per cent of adults said they had met another household in a private place last week, down from 30 per cent the previous week, an ONS survey shows
In 11 out of 16 English cities and towns hit with lockdowns in the last nine weeks, the infection rate has risen at least two-fold and in some cases by more than 10 times.
In Bolton, Britain’s current Covid-19 hotspot, there were 200 infections per 100,000 in the last seven days, up from 14 per 100,000 on July 31. In Wigan cases have risen from seven per 100,000 people to 102 in the same period.
Luton is the only area in the country which has successfully managed to drive down cases far enough to break free from the shackles of a local lockdown – but even the Bedfordshire town could be slapped with restrictions once again because cases have started to rebound.
Scientists, MPs and local leaders say adherence to the rules is low because they have been too ‘complex and confusing’ to follow.
In Middlesbrough, the mayor Andy Preston said he would ‘defy the government’ and that his town would ‘not accept these measures’ because there was no evidence they would work.