‘Selflish’ partying Londoners bringing possible Tier 3 restrictions on themselves

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Police have criticised “selfish” people for holding parties, large weddings and unlicensed music events as London faces rising coronavirus cases.

Increased infection rates have led to fears the capital could be headed for Tier 3 restrictions.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics suggested the proportion of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in London and possibly in eastern England but decreased in all other regions.

Meanwhile, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said it is not confident that R – representing the average number of people each person with the virus goes on to infect – is below 1 in all English regions, particularly in London and parts of the South East.

In an effort to tackle the spread in London, thousands of extra tests are being made available for schools in areas of concern.

Staff, students and families in secondary schools and colleges in the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham; Hackney and the City; Havering; Newham; Redbridge; Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest are being urged to get tested.

Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has said London going into Tier 3 would be “catastrophic” for hospitality in the capital, has introduced new measures “to try to turn the tide of rising case numbers”.

These include expanding community testing with 10 extra mobile testing units and up to 30 additional police officers from Westminster, Camden and Hammersmith and Fulham “to provide on-the-ground capacity this weekend”.

Downing Street has warned Londoners to be “vigilant” to control the spread of the virus.

A No 10 spokesman said: “We would encourage people to remain vigilant and to adhere to local restrictions and to follow the social distancing rules that are in place.”

The Met said almost 40 attendees at a wedding had been reported for fines earlier this week in an area with a high infection rate, and that the organiser now faces a potential £10,000 fine.

The force said its officers have also broken up unlicensed music events and made arrests at protests, as well as at central London shopping areas where people have failed to follow the regulations.

A small number of arrests were made after hundreds of young people were photographed gathering outside the world-famous Harrods department store last Saturday, the first weekend since England’s national lockdown was lifted.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the Met’s lead for Covid-19 operations, said: “It is really saddening that in the week a vaccine finally began its rollout to the most vulnerable, offering a ray of hope to us all, that we are facing the possibility of tougher restrictions.

“But I’m afraid the infection rates show not all of us are being careful enough.”

He said “collective actions” in the days and weeks ahead “will have very serious consequences” and warned that if people do not change their behaviour now “then people will die who could have otherwise lived – it’s that simple”.

He added: “We will not allow the irresponsible and selfish actions of a few jeopardise the safety of the entire city, but we also urge everyone to ensure they too are taking personal responsibility to do all they can to protect themselves and their community.”



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