London braced for coronavirus ‘lockdown’ as restrictions face being tightened

Officials are braced for coronavirus "lockdown" measures to be ramped up in London within days, the Mirror understands.

Multiple sources expect restrictions to be drastically tightened in the coming days as COVID-19 races ahead in the capital.

Emergency laws to be introduced to Parliament tomorrow will include powers to "close premises" and "restrict or prohibit events and gatherings" anywhere in the UK, if the government chooses to.

The Coronavirus Bill will also allow the government to limit activity in "any place, vehicle, train, vessel or aircraft" – leading to fears there could be restrictions on public transport.

Whitehall sources today told the Mirror lockdown-style measures in London – which Boris Johnson admitted is "a few weeks ahead" of the rest of the country – are "imminent".

But the exact timing and exact shape of any measures have not been decided.

A senior Downing Street source vehemently denied anything had been decided. The government's advisory group SAGE was meeting from 2pm today to examine next steps.


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Unconfirmed reports in The Spectator suggest the current rules on avoiding pubs, clubs and unnecessary social contact – so far voluntary – could be made mandatory.

No10 sources 'firmly' told The Sun there would not be lockdown style measures today or tomorrow.

Sources close to London mayor Sadiq Khan's office said they expect a tightening of restrictions in the capital in the coming days.

However, the shape of any possible measures was unclear. City Hall sources criticised the lack of information from the Government.

One said: "We have not heard anything on this – this lack of information doesn’t sound like the best way to govern during a national emergency".

Boris Johnson's spokesman today did not rule out a tightening of restrictions in the capital in future.

Asked if London was going to be "locked down", he said: "It’s a question of what you mean by that.


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"In terms of the measures that we’re taking, we’ve always said they’ll always be based on the latest and the best scientific advice including from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Advisor."

Asked if people may end up not allowed out of their homes unless they have paperwork to show a legitimate reason, like in France, Boris Johnson's spokesman said: "We’ve set out the steps which we think are necessary at this point in time.

"But we will be guided by scientific and medical advice to ensure we take the right steps to protect the public.”

Downing Street pointed out that London appeared to be ahead of the rest of the UK in the spread of the virus.

"[The Prime Minister] advised people in London to pay particular attention to the measures which we were putting in place in terms of limiting contact," Boris Johnson's spokesman said.

And asked if the measures would continue to be voluntary, the PM's spokesman said: "We always said we’ll do whatever is required to keep the public safe based on scientific and medical advice."

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