Friday 25 September 2020 1:07 pm

Coronavirus: London added to ‘watchlist’ as cases surge

London has been added to the UK’s coronavirus “watchlist” after a surge in new cases of the virus.

The capital has been marked as an area of high concern, meaning it could be in line for further restrictions.

Read more: Daily coronavirus cases hit highest level since 1 May

It comes after 620 new cases were confirmed in London in the last 24 hours — more than double the number recorded at the start of the week.

Public Health England will confirm the move this afternoon but the announcement was made this morning by London Councils, which represents the 33 boroughs.

It comes amid rising speculation that London will be subjected to fresh restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that tighter measures are “increasingly likely”.

“As London goes on the national Covid-19 watchlist, it is a stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe, and to ensure that London’s economy is protected,” London Councils said in a statement.

“There are no additional measures at this stage but it is welcome that that the city’s testing capacity is boosted so that Londoners have timely access to Covid-19 tests and the government must ensure that this is sustained from now on.”

In a statement today Khan warned the capital was at a “very worrying tipping point” and blamed a lack of test and trace capacity for the resurgence of the virus.

“Testing capacity was diverted away from London in the last two weeks to other national hot spots and weekly testing numbers are now down 43 per cent in the capital since mid-August,” he said.

“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and is why London has been added to the government’s coronavirus watchlist as an area of concern.”

“Ministers simply have to get a grip. It’s vital that testing capacity is increased immediately in London and focused in the areas it is needed most. Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.”

London Councils called on Londoners to abide by new national restrictions announced by the government earlier this week.

From last night all pubs and restaurants were forced to shut at 10pm to help fight a resurgence in new cases.

All hospitality venues are restricted to table service, while people must wear face masks at all times except when seated.

Read more: Sadiq Khan calls for emergency business support as London restrictions loom

Last night pub-goers flooded the streets of the capital immediately after 10pm as boozers shut their doors.

Revellers also reported crowded Tube trains as thousands of people headed home at the same time.