In response to the Prime Minister's announcement that London will be under Tier 4 restrictions due to rising Covid-19 rates, Chair of London Councils Cllr Georgia Gould said:
"On 17 December over 5,700 people tested positive across our city. Yesterday over 280 Londoners were admitted to hospital and in total there are more than 2,500 of our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours in hospital. That is deeply worrying.
"We are pleased that the Government has listened to London’s local leaders and public health advisors, and recognised the urgency and seriousness of the situation facing London.
"We fully support the measures the Prime Minister has announced today to keep London safe.
"It is clear that we have hit one of the worst points of this second wave at one of the most challenging moments of the year, when so many people are out and about on our High Streets and shopping centres, getting ready for Christmas and looking forward to seeing family and friends. We know these announcements will be bitterly disappointing for all Londoners and we will need all the care, kindness and community spirit that has shone so brightly this year to get through the coming weeks.
"As London leaders, we are grateful to all council staff who are working flat out to deliver tests, extra enforcement and communication to try and halt the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, we now face an unprecedented challenge in our city. So many in our city are already facing an incredibly hard winter – they might have lost a loved one, or lost their job, or be living alone. At the same time, it is imperative that the government provides a comprehensive support package, alongside these new measures, that ensures businesses, workers, those at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, and those who need to self-isolate, have all they need to make the right choices.
"To help London prevent the spread of the virus and rise to the challenge facing us we are urging Government to act quickly to support London and deliver the following:
1. Increase support to people on low incomes who might have to self-isolate
2. An emergency support package for all impacted sectors
3. Funding for local authorities to put in place support for vulnerable residents unable to access essential food and medicine
"I would urge all Londoners to make keeping themselves and those they love safe and well their priority this holiday season. All of us taking small steps can make a huge difference – staying at home wherever possible, keeping a safe distance from those not in our household, wearing a mask in busy and indoor spaces, washing our hands regularly and getting tested if we have symptoms.
"Councils, the NHS, the Metropolitan Police and Government are working closely together to make sure people know the rules, follow the rules and get the right care if they do get Covid-19. Health, care and frontline staff are all working this weekend – administering Covid-19 tests, giving advice to businesses and communities, looking after those in hospital and in care homes. They will be working through Christmas and many of them will not be seeing friends and family to keep them safe. We can all honour their hard work by following public health advice and making the right choices now and in the next few weeks."