London will be plunged deeper into lockdown within days – and potentially with just 12 hours’ notice – amid fears the “superspreader city” is driving the UK’s coronavirus outbreak.
This after the daily death rate doubled to 33 on Wednesday, residents in the capital are set for tighter restrictions on their movements – with signs the government will urge people to stay at home unless it is absolutely essential.
Transport for London said it will run a reduced service in the capital from today.
Some commuters were still struggling into work in London today despite speculation that the lockdown could be tightened.
Mail Online reports: “Plans are believed to be in place for police to guard shops and helicopters to airdrop food, although sources insisted that is not happening at this stage in the unfolding crisis.
“Speculation has been raging about the fate of London after the PM vowed he would not hesitate to go ‘further and faster’ to control the spread of the deadly virus.
“He said ‘ruthless’ enforcement of so-called social distancing measures – such as working from home and avoiding social gatherings in pubs, cinemas and restaurants – was needed.
“Some 953 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in London – more than a third of the UK total of 2,626.”
Health minister Nadine Dorries has vented her fury at images of still-busy bars and cafes in the capital, tweeting: “This is not social distancing, it is irresponsible behaviour and the price to pay for such selfishness will be severe for us all.”
Meanwhile, tube services in the capital are already being downgraded, with 40 stations shutting.
The nine-million inhabitants of the capital could see new restrictions as early as this weekend.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the public to travel only if they “really, really have to”. In a desperate plea to residents, he said: “I want to see more Londoners following the expert advice.”
It comes as military chiefs are putting up to 20,000 troops on standby to be deployed to Britain’s streets, hospitals and other key sites to help tackle the pandemic. Reservists have also been told they must be read to join a ‘Covid support force’.
“Some 150 soldiers are undergoing fast-track training on how to drive oxygen tankers around the country in order to supply hospitals.
“Buses in the capital will be reduced and people are being urged ‘not to use public transport for anything other than essential journeys’ and the Waterloo and City line and Night Tube services will not run from Friday.
“Mr Johnson last night said people who chose to ignore the official advice could put others at risk.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests some Londoners do not appear to be following Government advice to socially distance themselves, and have been attending pubs, clubs and restaurants and continuing to travel to work.
“As a result, London could follow the example of other cities around the world which have been hit by the virus and go into so-called lockdown.
“According to the Financial Times, police are being put on standby to prevent looters ravaging town centres,” the report said.
“Officials have been looking at plans for a full lockdown with only one person allowed to leave home at a time, and main shopping areas closed.
“Supermarkets would be guarded by the authorities, while few other shops apart from pharmacies would be allowed to stay open.
“Residents and business are expected to be given just 12 hours’ notice of the new restrictions, and they would initially be in place for a fortnight before being reconsidered.
“However, there are said to be concerns the measures will be unenforceable in a city the size of London, and could even lead to public disorder.
“Up to 40 stations which do not interchange with other lines could be closed, while the Waterloo and City line and Night Tube services will not run from Friday.
“Buses in the capital will be reduced and people are being urged ‘not to use public transport for anything other than essential journeys’.”
Speculation has been raging about the fate of London after the PM vowed he would not hesitate to go ‘further and faster’ to control the spread of the deadly virus.
Boris Johnson said “ruthless” enforcement of so-called social distancing measures – such as working from home and avoiding social gatherings in pubs, cinemas and restaurants – was needed.
“It is understood that the military will initially be deployed to hospitals and to protect the transport network, although travel may be limited to key workers,” the report said.
Some 953 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in London – more than a third of the UK total of 2,626.