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Sadiq Khan ends London’s ‘major incident’ Covid status but says capital still on ‘high alert’

Ross Lydall
·2-min read
<p>The Mayor’s declaration of a major incident on January 8 was made to fast-track help for the <a href=

The Mayor’s declaration of a major incident on January 8 was made to fast-track help for the

NHS

(PA)" />

Sadiq Khan today gave a key signal that the second wave of coronavirus was coming to an end in London as he ended the capital’s “major incident” status.

The Mayor’s declaration of a major incident on January 8 was made to fast-track help for the NHS as Covid infections spread “out of control” and hospitals were in danger of being overrun.

Today, seven weeks after the announcement, Mr Khan has decided to lower the capital’s risk status after assessing latest infection rates and the current Covid pressures on the NHS.

But he said the capital remained on “high alert”, with more than 2,300 Covid patients in London hospitals.

He urged Londoners not to “take their foot off the pedal” and continue to obey the lockdown rules and stay at home.

The move comes after the UK’s four chief medical officers on Thursday decided that the country’s Covid alert level should be reduced from level five to level four, meaning that the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days had receded.

In London, the latest figures show that the number of daily hospital admissions has fallen to 103, down from a peak last month of 977, the number of Covid inpatients has reduced from 7,917 to 2,371, of which the number on ventilators is down from 1,220 to 577.

When the major incident was declared, more than 10,000 Londoners a day were testing positive for Covid and the seven-day rate of 1,035.9 cases per 100,000 people was by some distance the highest in the country.

By last night the number of daily cases had reduced to 919 and the seven-day rate to 83.3 per 100,000, the third lowest rate in England.

About two million Covid jabs have been administered in London and health chiefs say this is having an impact on hospital admissions. However Mr Khan says there remains a “mountain to climb” to get the jab to all 7.1m adult Londoners, amid poorer take-up in ethnically diverse communities, particularly among black Londoners.

Today there was further evidence of vaccines’ effectiveness in reducing transmission rates.

A single dose of the Pfizer jab sparked a four-fold reduction in asymptomatic infections, according to data from vaccinated staff at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Reducing symptomless infection helps to prevent infected people unwittingly passing the virus to others.

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