Wednesday 18 March 2020 4:55 pm

Coronavirus: Government poised to impose London-only restrictions

Boris Johnson has indicated that Londoners should brace themselves for capital-specific restrictions, in the hope of flattening the curve of the coronavirus outbreak.

Multiple sources have said measures including restricting travel and shutting all but essential shops and services in line with measures seen in other European capitals, could be brought in as early as this weekend.

Asked about the widespread rumours during his daily press conference this afternoon, the Prime Minister said: “We live in a land of liberty… but I have to tell you we will rule nothing out.”

He added: “We will bring forward further and faster measures where that is necessary to suppress the peak, protect the NHS, minimise casualties and suffering”

Earlier in the day Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested that London would see “more stringent measures” in the coming days to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.

A senior Downing Street source insisted measures would not be introduced today or tomorrow, but No10 did not rule them out at a later date.

Measures are thought to include restrictions around travelling around the capital.

Other plans are also thought to include shutting all shops except supermarkets and pharmacies.

A City Hall source said they were expecting further restrictions to be imposed but had been kept in the dark about details.

On Monday, Johnson said London was “some weeks ahead” and urged those living in the capital to “pay special attention” to social distancing measures.

Speaking from Downing Street, he said: “It’s important that Londoners now pay special attention to what we’re saying about non-essential contact and to take particularly seriously the advice about working from home and avoiding confined spaces such as pubs and restaurants.”

A Number 10 spokesman said today: “We will only take decisions where they are based on scientific and medical advice.”

He noted that “it appears the virus is progressing more quickly in London than elsewhere.”

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