Sadiq Khan is 'playing politics' after London major incident statement
Sadiq Khan ‘tries to bounce Boris into ordering a new Covid crackdown’: London mayor is accused of ‘playing politics’ with the pandemic after declaring ‘major incident’ in London
- Mayor of London accused of ‘playing politics’ as he warns of spread of Omicron
- Surge in mutant strain made Mr Khan ‘incredibly worried’ about staff shortages
- On Saturday, London declared a major incident because of the Covid-19 threat
Sadiq Khan was last night accused of ‘playing politics’ with the coronavirus crisis by announcing a ‘major incident’ in London in a bid to ‘bounce’ Boris Johnson into ordering further restrictions.
In a dire warning, the Mayor of London said the rapid spread of the Omicron variant had left him ‘incredibly worried’ that the capital could run out of police officers, NHS workers and firefighters.
‘The surge in cases of the Omicron variant across our capital is hugely concerning, so we are once again declaring a major incident because of the threat of Covid-19 to our city,’ he said.
‘The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with Covid-19 on the rise again.’
But a Government source angrily accused Mr Khan – who announced a similar major incident in January – of politicising Covid-19.
Sadiq Khan was last night accused of ‘playing politics’ with the coronavirus crisis by announcing a ‘major incident’ in London in a bid to ‘bounce’ Boris Johnson into ordering further restrictions
And a Tory MP said the Mayor was seeking to force the Prime Minister into introducing new rules when the solution was to vaccinate a significant number of Londoners who have not had all their jabs.
Omicron is the dominant variant in London and it is thought it has also replaced Delta across England and Scotland.
The number of people in the capital’s hospitals with the virus has risen 28.6 per cent week on week, according to official figures released on Friday.
A Tory MP said the Mayor was seeking to force the Prime Minister into introducing new rules when the solution was to vaccinate a significant number of Londoners who have not had all their jabs
The row came as:
- More than 50 per cent of eligible adults over 18 have now had the jab – and 47.2 per cent of those aged over 12.
- There were long queues at Chelsea football stadium, one of around 3,000 sites doing injections;
- Official figures showed a further 90,418 cases of Covid-19 had been recorded, up week on week but lower than the figure on Friday. There had been 125 deaths in the previous 24 hours, down from 132 last Saturday;
- The number in hospital with Omicron rose from 65 to just 85, as 10,059 cases of the variant were recorded, taking the official total to 24,968 although there are likely to be many more cases in reality. Seven people have died with Omicron;
- Ministers will deploy ‘Army vaccine ambassadors’ to 60 areas including the Liverpool ONE shopping complex, Brighton Pier and London’s King’s Cross station to speed up the booster rollout;
- The Netherlands entered a new lockdown after it was said Omicron was ‘spreading at lightning speed’;
- After thousands of British families made a dash to avoid new travel restrictions in France, Heathrow bosses asked the Government to provide boosters for critical workers of any age to keep Britain’s biggest airport running;
- The number of shoppers on UK high streets was down 25 per cent on the same pre-Christmas weekend in 2019 while out-of-town retail centres were down almost a third.
Cabinet Office Minister Stephen Barclay will today chair a meeting of the Cobra committee where officials are expected to consider proposals for a so-called ‘circuit breaker’ to stem the surge of Omicron after Christmas.
Restrictions under could include a ban on meeting other people indoors.
Documents released yesterday by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) showed scientists believe restrictions ‘similar in scale to the national lockdown’ are required to prevent hospitalisations hitting 3,000 a day.
But Tory MPs, who voted against Covid restrictions in a Commons rebellion last week, said too much was being sacrificed for a variant whose impact is as yet not fully known.
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