Boris Johnson defies calls for coronavirus London lockdown

London is not going into lockdown over coronavirus despite increasing calls to do so.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied plans of a lockdown on Thursday afternoon at the daily press conference to update the public on developments in the public health crisis.

He will not be closing pubs and restaurants, nor will London's public transport system be closed.

Johnson said the evidence suggests Londoners are doing well at obeying social distancing advice, although acknowledged that in some areas of the city it is "patchy".

The death toll in the UK has risen to 137, with at least 2,626 confirmed cases. Almost 1000 of those cases are in London.

Approximately four in 10 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK so far have been in London, PA reports, with 56 deaths occurring in the capital.

Officials have labelled London a "city of superspreaders" and said emergency measures were needed to contain the virus.

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that a lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus was "under review".

There had been rumours that all travel in and out of London was to be banned imminently. The government shot down those rumours earlier today and Johnson's comments echo that it's not on the cards yet.

Up to 40 Tube stations were closed on Thursday and a reduced rail service will start running from Friday.

Live updates on COVID-19 cases near you

England: 2,182

  • London: 953
  • South East: 285
  • Midlands: 234
  • North East and Yorkshire: 168
  • North West: 180
  • East of England: 128
  • South West: 117

Scotland: 227

Wales: 149

Northern Ireland: 68

Also speaking at Thursday's press conference, the government's chief medical adviser Professor Chris Witty said the pressure on London's healthcare systems will increase.

He said A&E and respiratory care in hospitals will come under pressure and the number of coronavirus cases will continue to rise in the next two weeks.

Even if social distancing measures prove effective, there will be a lag.

Professor Witty said there is evidence that a huge number of Brits are taking social distancing seriously, but we don't yet know if it will be enough to slow the spread of the virus.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier said too many people are still using public transport when they shouldn't be.

"I can't say this clearly enough. People should not be travelling by any means unless they absolutely must. The scientific advice on this is very clear," he said to the London Assembly on Thursday.

"Londoners should be avoiding social interaction unless absolutely necessary and this includes avoiding the transport network.

"I want to see more Londoners following the expert advice, which means it's critical we see far fewer Londoners using our transport network than is currently the case."

  • Boris Johnson
  • London
  • Coronavirus

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