And you can FORGET about New Year’s Eve too! Sadiq Khan urges Londoners to ‘err on the side of caution’ and only ‘party at home with direct family’ after declaring state of emergency in capital over Omicron surge
- London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared state of emergency over Omicron surge
- Mr Khan complained hospitality faces ‘existential’ threat from people shunning
- He suggested people should only party at home with ‘direct family’ at New Year
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Sadiq Khan today delivered a stark message to Londoners about New Year partying warning urging them to stay at home with family.
The capital’s mayor pleaded with the public to ‘err on the side of caution’ – saying they should only go to pubs and restaurants if it can be done ‘safely’.
Speaking on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr show, Mr Khan gave a grim picture of the ‘existential’ threat facing hospitality businesses as people bunker down and cancel events over Covid fears.
He called on the government to bring forward a package of support to keep venues afloat during the latest crisis.
But he also gave a clear indication that people should not be engaging in revelry in the current climate.
Sadiq Khan today delivered a stark message to Londoners about New Year partying warning urging them to stay at home with family
Asked whether New Year parties should be going ahead, Mr Khan said: ‘I think it depends what sort of parties you are planning. If it is with your family, your direct family at home of course that is fine.
‘I think what you have got to recognise, if you are meeting with strangers, if you have not had your lateral flow test on that day, if you can’t keep your social distance, if there is not good ventilation, you may be passing the virus on if you have got it without showing symptoms.
‘Or you may be getting it. Err on the side of caution.’
Told that chief medic Chris Whitty was urging people to be selective about the events that were important to them personally, Mr Khan said: I’ve not had the benefit I’m afraid of listening to Chris Whitty directly, but I trust Chris Whitty… if that is the advice from the chief medical officer I would rather listen to him.’
Asked whether people should still be going to bars and restaurants, he said: ‘If they can do so safely.’
Mr Khan yesterday declared a major incident due to the ‘hugely concerning’ surge in cases across the capital, as he voiced fears about staff absences in vital public services including the NHS, the fire service and police due to infection.
In a dire warning, the Mayor of London said the rapid spread of the Omicron variant had left him ‘incredibly worried’ that the capital could run out of police officers, NHS workers and firefighters.
‘The surge in cases of the Omicron variant across our capital is hugely concerning, so we are once again declaring a major incident because of the threat of Covid-19 to our city,’ he said.
The number of confirmed cases of Omicron in England increased by 69 per cent on the previous day’s total – up 9,427 to 23,168, figures from the UKHSA showed today
Boris Johnson has so far refused scientists’ pleas for a last-ditch Christmas lockdown to quell the spread of the Omicron mutant variant
‘The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with Covid-19 on the rise again.’
But a Government source angrily accused Mr Khan – who announced a similar major incident in January – of politicising Covid-19.
Omicron is the dominant variant in London and it is thought it has also replaced Delta across England and Scotland.
The number of people in the capital’s hospitals with the virus has risen 28.6 per cent week on week, according to official figures released on Friday.