The Mayor of London on Friday declared a “major incident” in the UK capital, warning that the spread of coronavirus in the city was now “out of control”.
In a statement, Sadiq Khan said that hospitals within London were in danger of running out of beds in the coming weeks, adding: “If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die.”
“The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April,” he said. “Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed.”
Between December 30 and January 6, the number of Covid-19 patients in London hospitals increased by 27 per cent, rising from 5,524 to 7,034. In the same period, the number of patients on mechanical ventilation grew by 42 per cent, rising to 908.
The case rate within London now stands at 1,036 per 100,000 people. Around 830 people are admitted to London hospital trusts each day, a stark rise from around 500 before the festive season.
A major incident is defined as “being beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations, and is likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security”.