London on lockdown?

Will the UK follow other European countries into lockdown?


'No prospect' of London lockdown says No.10 ahead of Khan and Johnson talks

There is "no prospect" of London being locked down in the battle against coronavirus, Downing Street has said, closing down rumours that transport in and out of the capital was about to be restricted.

There had been several reports that the government was planning to close down transport links within London and it seemed the inevitable next step when 40 tube stations were closed on Thursday morning owing to lack of demand.

But ahead of a meeting between the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the prime minister, Boris Johnson's official spokesman insisted there were no such plans.

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Is London due to be put on lockdown?

By Joe Harker

The spread of the coronavirus continues through the UK and no part of Britain has been harder hit than London.

With millions of people living and travelling together it wouldn't be hard to see how the virus could travel quickly through the population.

Rumours are flying around about what the government plans to do, so let's work out what exactly is happening.

The Claim:

Many areas of the press were reporting that London was being prepared for a lockdown as public transport was limited and people were being urged to stay indoors in all but essential situations.

Whitehall sources were quoted as saying a lockdown of London was "imminent", with the prime minister's admission that the capital is "a few weeks ahead" of the rest of the country an apparent admission that other parts of the UK could follow suit.

The Daily Telegraph was reporting that the government could close the capital by the weekend.

They were also reporting that people could soon be required to have paperwork explaining their reason for being out and about, a similar situation to the one the French government imposed upon their public.

Boris Johnson was saying the government would "rule nothing out", saying it would be "quite wrong" to say more serious measures weren't on the table.

The Counter Claim:

However, yesterday's line from Downing Street attempted to quash the reports of a potential London lockdown as ministers said there was "no prospect" of such an occurrence.

The closure of 40 tube stations had people convinced that more steps would be taken in the coming days but Johnson's official spokesman said they had "no plans" to close the transport network and no restrictions on travel in and out of London.

They don't rule out a tightening of restrictions with non-food shops closed and events banned, but Downing Street took the line that they would pursue a different path to the total lockdowns other nations had imposed.

It's definitive talk from the government in an attempt to quash claims that the capital was due to be shut down.

Besides, putting a major city on lockdown is a very difficult thing to do and even harder to enforce.

The Facts:

Italy, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus and imposed a restrictive lockdown, has caught thousands of people violating the lockdown and charged some 40,000 citizens. They have been named as "irresponsible people" who "could not care less about collective health".

There have been over 950 confirmed cases of coronavirus in London. People are encouraged to stay indoors unless it is necessary to travel and public transport services are being reduced as a result.

The prime minister met yesterday with London's mayor, Sadiq Khan and government departments have been asked to draw up plans for widespread closures in case it is needed.

The peak of the coronavirus in the UK is expected to be between late May and late June, where the majority of cases will occur and the NHS will be put under most strain. It will be months at least before the virus is gone, meaning people will have to get used to the new normal of isolation and reduced social contact.

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