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London moves to Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions to curb rising infections

(Xinhua)    11:09, October 16, 2020

LONDON, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Millions of Londoners will face tougher restrictions from Saturday as the British capital will be placed in a higher level of the government's coronavirus alert system, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Thursday.

Under the Tier Two of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's three-level COVID-19 alert system, different households in London are banned from meeting in indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

"Now, I know that these measures are not easy but I also know that they are vital," Hancock said in a statement to the House of Commons (lower house of parliament).

"Responding to this unprecedented pandemic requires difficult choices, some of the most difficult choices any government has to make in peacetime," Hancock told MPs.

Along with London, other areas, including Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash, will also go into "High" alert restrictions this weekend.

"Things will get worse before they get better," Hancock said.

London's 11 boroughs saw more than 100 new cases in a week per 100,000 people, according to official figures.

A swathe of west London, as well as several council areas in the east, have seen the disease rise significantly and the capital as a whole saw 8,700 coronavirus cases in the week to Oct. 10, up from 6,359 for the previous seven days.

COVID-linked hospitalisations are rising, with 67 admissions on Monday, the highest figure since June 23.

Ealing has the highest rate in the capital at 144.8 per 100,000 in the week to Oct. 10, with 495 cases,

However, the scale of the COVID-19 crisis in London is still far below that of hotspots in the North and Midlands.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said currently there is "simply no other option" to fight the fast spread of coronavirus.

"Nobody wants to see more restrictions but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners," he told London's City Hall.

The mayor said he will continue to urge the British government for more financial support. "We've got a difficult winter ahead," he added.

The latest decision was announced after the new three-level COVID-19 alert system came into force Wednesday across England, with the level being decided according to local infection rates.

The alert system comprises three levels: "Medium", "High" and "Very High". The Liverpool City Region has been placed in the "Very High" level since Wednesday.

Previously, most of England, including London, is placed in the first tier of the system, which means an alert level of "medium".

To bring life back to normal, countries, such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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