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Coronavirus

“Major incident” declared by the Mayor of London due to the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

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Sadiq Khan said Omicron is now the “dominant variant” in London and was having an impact on staff absences in the emergency services across the city.

He said London was the UK region with the largest number of Covid cases.

Latest government data shows there are 1,534 Covid patients in London hospitals – up 28.6% on last week.

Mr Khan said in the last 24 hours, London had seen the largest number of new cases since the coronavirus pandemic began – more than 26,000.

He added: “Hospital admissions are going up, but also staff absences are going up by a massive level.

“So I’ve taken the decision in consultation with our partners to declare a major incident today.”

Major incidents have previously been called in response to the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and the terror attacks at Westminster Bridge and London Bridge.

A major incident is any emergency which requires the implementation of special arrangements by one or all of the emergency services, the NHS or the local authority.

It means the emergency services and hospitals cannot guarantee their normal level of response.

Mr Khan also declared a major incident on 8 January due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 and its impact on the health service.

It was in place until 26 February as case numbers in the capital fell.

Making the announcement on Saturday, Mr Khan said: “The really bad news is those in hospital – the vast, vast majority are unvaccinated that’s why it is so important to get both the vaccines and the booster jab.

“Londoners will notice over the course of the next few days even more places across the city offering both the vaccines and the booster.

“What we can’t afford to see is even more of our crucial key workers going off sick because they have this virus.”

Mr Khan’s comments came as Wembley Stadium, Stamford Bridge and The Valley were all set up as mass vaccination centres.

Oxford Street will also have a vaccination bus and Mr Khan urged people who were eligible to get a booster jab and for others to make sure they were vaccinated.

He said: “It is still the case that in some pockets of London, there are black Londoners, there are Muslim Londoners, there are Jewish Londoners, there are Eastern European Londoners, who still haven’t had a vaccine.

“So reaching out to those communities…to explain why the vaccine is important and to make sure nobody is left behind, we are making sure more Londoners get the first dose.”

Latest government figures show 2.7m Londoners have received their booster jab.

Georgia Gould, chair of London Councils, said: “The rapid spread of Omicron across our city is of huge concern.

“Local councils have stepped up and played a vital role in supporting their communities through the pandemic. I know they will continue with these efforts, but we cannot do this alone.”

The mayor’s decision was announced as Cabinet ministers were set to be briefed on the latest Covid data.

Omicron is now thought to be the dominant Covid variant in England and Scotland, replacing Delta.

On Friday, the UK saw another record number of daily Covid cases for the third consecutive day, with more than 93,000 infections confirmed.

But there were also a record 861,306 booster and third dose vaccine jabs administered – the highest daily total so far.

Planning your travel to London?

Before you travel to London, please make sure that you have all necessary covid vaccines taken. Travel responsibly and safely. Keep checking our website and news, Covid section to keep up-to-date with the latest travel advisory for travel to London and the UK.

United Kingdom may face another lockdown in Christmas if we don’t act soon

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United Kingdom may face another lockdown in Christmas if we don’t act soon

A prominent adviser to the UK government on Covid-19 has said he is very fearful of another Christmas lockdown, as he urged the public to do everything possible to reduce the spread of the virus. Public and health officials need to act soon to take extra precautions to curtail

Professor Stephen Reicher says vaccines are “not quite enough” on their own and “other protections” are now needed – as a fellow expert says he is fearful of another “lockdown Christmas”.

Prof Peter Openshaw, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said the current number of cases and deaths rates were unacceptable, and reiterated the importance of measures such as working from home and mask wearing.

His intervention comes after the prime minister resisted calls from health leaders, including the head of the NHS Confederation and the council chair of the British Medical Association, who urged “categorically” that the “time is now” for tighter restrictions.

Asked on Friday about the possibility of a winter lockdown, Boris Johnson said there was “absolutely nothing to indicate that that is on the cards at all”. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, also said the vaccine rollout and booster jabs made a lockdown or “very significant economic restrictions” unlikely.

Cases and deaths as published 23 Oct 2021
Cases and deaths as published 23 Oct 2021. Vaccinations as % of total population (including under 18s), published 22 Oct 2021. Weekly change shows difference from 7 days ago. Source: data.gov.uk.

The health secretary, Sajid Javid, conceded earlier this week that new cases could reach a record 100,000 a day, but Downing Street insisted there was still spare capacity in the NHS and that “plan B” winter measures, including the mandatory use of face masks and working from home guidance, would only be activated if it came under significant pressure.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Openshaw told BBC Breakfast on Saturday that he feared “another lockdown Christmas if we don’t act soon”. He said: “We know that with public health measures the time to act is immediately. There’s no point in delaying. If you do delay then you need to take even more stringent actions later. The immediacy of response is absolutely vital if you’re going to get things under control.”

He said getting measures in place now in order to “get transmission rates right down” was key to having “a wonderful family Christmas where we can all get back together”.

Openshaw said it was “unacceptable to be letting this run at the moment … I think hospitals in many parts of the country are barely coping actually. Talking to people on the frontline, I think it’s just not sustainable to keep going at this rate.”

The UK recorded its highest number of Covid-related deaths since March last week.

Openshaw said: “At one stage last week there were 180 deaths in a single day. That is just too many deaths. We seem to have got used to the idea that we’re going to have many, many people dying of Covid and that I think is just not the case,.”

He urged the public to take matters into their own hands to slow down transmission of the virus, rather than waiting for the government to reintroduce measures, including avoiding public transport and crowded spaces if possible, getting vaccinated and accepting the offer of the booster jab.

“The sooner we all act, the sooner we can get this transmission rate down, and the greater the prospect of having a Christmas with our families,” he said.

england covid stats as on 22nd October 2021
England covid stats as on 22nd October 2021

Members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said in minutes of a meeting published on Friday that a further huge rise in infections as seen in January was increasingly unlikely. Other experts predict a series of broader, flatter peaks as the virus continues to spread.

In its meeting dated 14 October, however, Sage said measures contained in the government’s plan B would be most effective if implemented in unison and earlier rather than later.

Trade union leaders representing 3 million frontline workers attacked the government’s “laissez-faire approach to managing the pandemic” on Friday. They said it risked “another winter of chaos” without urgent action, including mandatory mask wearing in shops and on public transport.

And at least a dozen local public health chiefs in England have broken from the government’s official guidance and recommended plan B measures, including mask wearing and working from home, to combat a surge in Covid infections in their areas.

Coronavirus London Latest Information and Advice

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Coronavirus London Latest Information and Advice

29 March: What’s changed

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 29 March. However, many restrictions remain in place. You must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with. You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible. You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

You can read the “COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 (roadmap)” for more information on roadmap out of lockdown in England. It is underpinned by law.

From 29 March:

  • you can meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
  • you can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
  • childcare and supervised activities are allowed outdoors for all children
  • formally organised parent and child groups can take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be counted in this number

Keeping yourself and others safe

You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times, including if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

You should follow this guidance in full to limit the transmission of COVID-19. It is underpinned by law.

Face coverings

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. From 1 April, you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take precautions to protect yourself.

If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19

To help protect yourself and your friends, family, and community you should continue to follow all of the guidance on this page even if you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccines have been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe illness in most people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so those who have received the vaccine should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.

We do not know by how much the vaccine stops COVID-19 from spreading. Even if you have been vaccinated, you could still spread COVID-19 to others.

Meeting family and friends indoors

You must not meet indoors with anybody you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with (if you are eligible), or another legal exemption applies.

Meeting friends and family outdoors (rule of 6)

You can meet up outdoors with friends and family you do not live with, either:

  • in a group of up to 6 from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of 6)
  • in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)

If you’re in a support bubble

If you are eligible to form a support bubble, you and your support bubble count as one household towards the limit of 2 households when meeting others outdoors. This means, for example, that you and your support bubble can meet with another household, even if the group is more than 6 people.

Where you can meet

You can meet in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (including their support bubbles) outdoors. This includes private outdoor spaces, such as gardens, and other outdoor public places and venues that remain open. These include the following:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public and botanical gardens
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • outdoor sculpture parks
  • allotments
  • public playgrounds
  • outdoor sports venues and facilities

If you need to enter through a house to get to a garden or other outside space and there is no alternative access, you should wear a face covering, wash or sanitise your hands when entering, and then go straight to the outside space. If you need to use the bathroom, wash your hands thoroughly and go back outside immediately. You should maintain social distancing from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble.

When you can meet with more people or meet indoors

Gatherings above the limit of 6 people or 2 households, or gatherings indoors, can only take place if they are permitted by an exception. These exceptions are listed on this page.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaking the limit if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

Travelling to England from outside the UK

All visitors to London, England are subject to the coronavirus restriction rules.

All those planning to travel to London should follow the guidance on entering the UK. Before travelling to the UK, you must complete a passenger locator form and have proof of a negative COVID-19 test, unless you are exempt.

All arrivals will need to take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining. Arrivals must book a travel test package. See the guidance on how to quarantine when you arrive in England.

You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless you’re:

  • a British national
  • an Irish national
  • anyone with residence rights in the UK

Everyone allowed to enter England who has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:

  • quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining, the tests are included in the hotel package
  • follow the guidance on this page

See the guidance on booking and staying in a quarantine hotel when you arrive in England

Check out the London Tour Packages here.

Advice for visitors and foreign nationals in England

Foreign nationals are subject to the national restrictions.

If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.

Coronavirus Travel Advisory to and from the United Kingdom

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Coronavirus Travel Advisory to and from the United Kingdom

As the world is under the grips of a Pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID – 19). We would like to inform all the travellers to and from the United Kingdom to be extra cautious and do only necessary travels only. We know that we have people who have booked their travels to London. But we want all our customers and also people who are travelling to any country to be cautious. Specially airports, Any public gathering to be avoided.?

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Symptoms of Coronavirus may appear in 2 to 14 days after the exposure to the virus. Following are the identified symptoms of Coronavirus. If you have been to China since Jan 2020, please do consult your nearby doctor for screening and health checkup.?

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of Breath
  4. Headache
  5. Sore Throat
  6. Impaired liver and kidney function
  7. Pneumonia
Sympotoms of Coronavirus and how it spreads
Symptoms of Coronavirus and how it spreads

Precautions to reduce the risk of Coronavirus Infections

Following are some of the ways you can reduce the risk of Coronavirus infection:

  1. Clean hands with germ free soap and water or alcohol based hand rub/sanitiser
  2. Cover nose and mouth with tissues or inside of below when coughing or sneezing
  3. Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  4. Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  5. Avoid unprotected contact with live wild or famines animals.
How to reduce risk of coronavirus
How to reduce risk of coronavirus

Travel Advisory to the United Kingdom

Should I cancel or postpone my London Travel?

If you have travelled to China in the past few months, it’s recommended to get a health checkup done, before travelling to any other country. It’s recommended that you travel only if it’s very much a requirement like business travel. If you have booked your London tour, check with your travel agent if you should travel or postpone the travel. Make sure to avoid any contact with people who are sick at the airport.

mask usage coronavirus
Mask usage increased due to Coronavirus

What is the risk of getting Coronavirus COVID-19 on an Airplane?

Because of how air circulates and is filtered on aeroplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on aeroplanes. Although the risk of infection on an aeroplane is low, travellers should try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser that contains 60%-95% alcohol.

What happens if there is a sick passenger on a flight?

If you see anyone sick around you, inform the air hostess, and stewards to take necessary action and seat the sick person in isolation. Give your contact information to the airline staff. Once you land at any of the United Kingdom Airports example Heathrow airport, you and the sick passenger will be quarantined at Holiday Inn and will be kept in isolation and appropriately treated.

What if recently travelled to an area affected by Coronavirus COVID-19 and got Sick?

If you were in a country with a COVID-19 outbreak and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, you should

  • Seek medical advice – Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel on public transportation while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains 60%? or 95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Please be responsible for your own health and make sure to take all necessary precautions while travelling to London anywhere. Coronavirus has turned into a pandemic, it’s our duty to take care of our health, maintain social distancing, and wear masks in all public areas.