mylondon– Fears are growing that Londoners may not be able to meet their families this Christmas due to a worrying rise in coronavirus cases.
As things stand, the whole of England will be allowed to gather in a one-off Christmas bubble of up to three households from December 23-27.
But due to Covid-19 cases continuing to rise, especially in the capital, one NHS chief has warned this lockdown truce may need to be reviewed within days.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson has written an urgent letter to Boris Johnson warning any relaxation may “trigger a third wave”, the Daily Mirror reports.
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Mr Hopson told Sky News: “We’re not calling at this point for the regulations to change, but that’s something I think we’re going to need to look at over the next few days.”
His letter to the Prime Minister added: ”Trust leaders are worried that if infection rates remain as high as they are at the moment, relaxing the restrictions will trigger a third wave”.
Ministers are planning to review England’s lockdown tiers on Wednesday (December 16) and some fear London may be placed in Tier 3 – the strictest tier.
The capital is currently in Tier 2, along with most areas of the country.
Mr Hopson warned people that just because they’re allowed to see elderly relatives, it doesn’t mean it’ll be safe.
“We need a much better debate about the risks of what’s going to happen over Christmas,” he told Sky. “We are very worried”.
He added: “Everybody’s currently working on the basis that because the rules are there, if they observe the rules they’ll be fine and that’s absolutely not the case.
“Any extra social contact particularly with people who are at risk from the virus is potentially a real problem.”
A Government spokeswoman said ministers will not “hesitate to take necessary actions to protect local communities” and that decisions are made based on the latest available data.
“We have introduced strengthened local restrictions to protect the progress gained during national restrictions, reduce pressure on the NHS and ultimately save lives,” the spokeswoman said.
“On top of our record NHS investment, this winter we are providing an extra £3 billion to maintain independent sector and Nightingale hospital surge capacity and a further £450 million to upgrade and expand A&Es.”
In Havering – London’s most infected borough – another 1,118 cases of the virus were recorded in the borough in the last week, compared to 785 the week before.
Havering’s infection rate – expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people – is now 430.7, up from 302.4 in the previous seven days.
The figures also makes the borough the eighth most infected areas in England, according to analysis of the latest Government data for the seven days to December 7.
Waltham Forest is a distant second in the table of current London infection rates, at 352.7.
Barking & Dagenham (339.6, up from 279.0); and Redbridge (332.9, up from 279) are also in the top 20 highest infection areas in England.