London Mayor Says Lockdowns “Inevitable” As NHS Struggles With Surging Cases
Now that the Netherlands has announced plans for a month-long lockdown, it appears another wave of (government-funded) lockdowns are coming in Europe, especially since Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz has suggested he would be open to more extreme measures, and Dutch PM Mark Rutte has ordered the shutdowns to begin Sunday.
Back in the UK, which has been arguably the most proactive among its neighbors at detecting cases of the new omicron variant, PM Boris Johnson is facing a rebellion of Tory backbenchers. Meanwhile, the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, warned during an interview on Sunday that more restrictions, including lockdowns, are “inevitable”.
Speaking to BBC Sunday, Khan insisted that new restrictions are “inevitable”, and he called for a “major package of financial support for our hospitality, culture, and retail [sectors]”.
The mayor argued that if the authorities failed to impose tougher restrictions “sooner rather than later,” the capital would see an even worse surge in positive cases, which would in turn leave “potentially public services like the NHS on the verge of collapse, if not collapsing.”
The British capital alone has reported nearly 30K new cases over the past 24 hours.
Khan’s comments come less than 24 hours after he declared a “major incident” in London amid rising COVID cases and the relatively rapid spread of the omicron strain in particular, which is well on its way toward becoming the dominant strain in England and Scotland.
Khan added that 1,534 people were currently hospitalized with COVID in the capital, a nearly 30% rise compared to last week.
When announcing the decision on Saturday, Khan pointed out that the “vast majority” of patients being treated in hospitals haven’t been vaccinated. For those who haven’t already been vaccinated, Khan urged Londoners to get the jab as soon as possible (not that it will necessarily stop them from getting infected).
Weirdly, Khan decided to frame his pleas for Londoners to accept the vaccine in racial terms.
“In some pockets of London there are black Londoners, there are Muslim Londoners, there are Jewish Londoners, there are Eastern European Londoners, who still haven’t had a vaccine,” he said.
But pretty soon, all that racial stuff isn’t going to matter so much as whether Londoners have their vaccination papers, or not. And for those who might once again be put out of work by the lockdown, Mayor Khan also told the BBC that there would be a “major package of financial support” for workers in the “hospitality, culture and retail sectors.”
Sun, 12/19/2021 – 12:10
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