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Sadiq Khan declares ‘major incident’ in London as coronavirus cases rise



Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, has declared a “major incident” in the capital as coronavirus infections continue to rise.

A major incident is an event or situation “with a range of serious consequences which requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more emergency responder agency”, according to the London Assembly.

Mr Khan took the step, which allows for closer coordination between different public agencies, after Britain reported on Friday the largest 24-hour increase in the number of new cases since the pandemic began.

Hospital admissions and health worker absences are rising, Mr Khan said, “so I’ve taken the decision, in consultation with our partners, to declare a major incident today”.

“This is a statement of how serious things are,” he said.

The last time the Mayor declared a major incident was in January, when he warned that the capital was “at crisis point”, with health services risking being overwhelmed without immediate action.

It comes as the UK’s Covid cases hit a record high amid the spread of the omicron variant, with a further 93,045 cases reported yesterday.

A further 10,059 cases of the omicron variant were reported across the UK today, with the number of deaths with the variant rising to seven in England.

Earlier today, Mr Khan said he was “incredibly worried” about staff absences in vital public services including the NHS, fire service and police due to rapidly rising cases of the omicron variant.

Yesterday, the The Fire Brigades Union said that rising coronavirus cases had left the London Fire Brigade facing “unprecedented” staff shortages, resulting in nearly a third of London’s fire engines being out of action in the last week.

​​Follow the latest updates below.





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