London is “not ready” for a local coronavirus lockdown, the capital’s mayor has warned.
Sadiq Khan told Sky News he was waiting for the government to provide “clarity” on what powers and resources he would be given to enforce localised restrictions if they become necessary.
Last month, the UK’s first full local lockdown was announced in Leicester as part of the government’s “whack-a-mole” strategy to deal with local flare-ups in COVID-19 infections.
Shops and schools were closed in the Midlands city, while the reopening of pubs and restaurants did not take place in line with the rest of England.
Asked about the possibility of similar action being taken within London’s 32 boroughs, Mr Khan told Sky News’ Kay Burley @ Breakfast show: “At the moment we’re not ready.
“I’ve been lobbying the government for them to provide clarity in relation to the powers and resources we have to enforce a local lockdown.
“I think it would be possible to have a lockdown based upon a specific building, a factory, a school, a place of worship.
“It would be very difficult at the moment, because of the lack of clarity, to have a local lockdown based on a geographical area.”
The London mayor described the Leicester lockdown as a “case study” in “how not to respond to a situation”.
“We had examples, we were told, of people in Leicester being able to leave Leicester and go to other cities when the pubs began to reopen,” Mr Khan said.
“The government’s got to use this opportunity, we’ve got time, to make sure they provide clarity on what the powers are, what the resources are, in relation to enforcing – heaven forbid – a local lockdown should it be required.”
Mr Khan welcomed the government’s announcement that the wearing of face coverings in shops and supermarkets will be mandatory in England from 24 July.
But he questioned why the action wasn’t being taken immediately, adding: “It’s really important, now that the infection rate appears to be lower, the R number appears to be lower, now is the time to make sure we have all the steps in place to avoid a second wave and, certainly, avoid the need for a second lockdown.”
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