London placed in ‘medium’ Covid-risk category — here’s what that means – Financial News



London has been placed in the “medium” risk category for Covid-19, meaning no additional restrictions will apply to residents and businesses in the capital beyond those currently in force nationally.

The UK government unveiled its new three-tier “Local Covid Alert Level” system on 12 October. In the areas designated “very high risk” residents will not be allowed to mix with other households, indoors or outdoors, while restaurants and pubs will be closed temporarily. People will be advised not to travel in or out of the affected areas.

After announcing the measures, the government published a list of areas to which the new designations will initially apply. The Liverpool city region — where case numbers are of particular concern — was the only region placed immediately in the “very high risk” category.

Several other regions, including Cheshire, Greater Manchester, parts of West Workshire around Leeds and Bradford, and several regions in the North East including Newcastle and Gateshead, were put on “high” alert.

This second tier of the system means that businesses such as pubs and bars may remain open, under the existing national restrictions such as the 10pm curfew. Similarly, gyms, tourist attractions and personal care services may remain open — unlike in the “very high risk” areas.

Chris Fletcher, director of policy and communications at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said the news would “come as some relief, especially for those businesses that have spent most of the last week trying to operate under the threat of another enforced closure”.

In medium areas, such as London, only existing restrictions apply. All businesses and venues may remain open provided they are “Covid-secure” and set up for social distancing. Schools, universities and places of worship remain open, and people may meet in groups of up to six.

In a statement, the government said: “Cases are rising rapidly across the country, particularly in the North East and North West, and this is resulting in increased hospitalisations and deaths. The Prime Minster said that further action is required now to suppress the virus and make sure the NHS isn’t overwhelmed, and can continue providing essential services such as cancer care.”

The new system will come into force on 14 October, the government, subject to a vote in Parliament tomorrow. There will be a four-week sunset clause for interventions in “very high” areas.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Mark Cobley