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18 March 2020 17:52

Stabbing London Walthamstow

London braced for coronavirus 'lockdown' as restrictions face being tightened

The city's transport network could be shut - or severely restricted - with all non-essential businesses ordered to work from home. Legislation in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill, put before Parliament this week, would give the Government emergency powers to "close premises" and "restrict or prohibit events and gatherings", including restricting transport networks. Citing sources close to the Mayor of London, the Daily Telegraph said plans were in place to shut down the city in the next few days. A source close to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told the Daily Telegraph: "We expect a shutdown of London but nobody in central Government is saying when that will be or what form it will take. "The Prime Minister is saying we need to go faster and further and there is a spike of cases in London which is running ahead of the country but what that actually means the mayor's office doesn't yet know because Downing Street hasn't said." City AM's Cat Neilan also said sources had indicated a major lockdown.

The paper's political editor said the move "feels like" a "lockdown". Coronavirus London: The tubes are notably quieter as people shift to home working Ms Neilan said: "I'm hearing that there are plans to heavily restrict travel in and out of London, keep open supermarkets and pharmacies. "'Lock down' might be a scary word but that is how it feels." Transport for London has already seen a marked decrease in the number of people using its services. The drop in usage is attributed to the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday that urged employees to work from home. Mr Johnson also asked Britons to avoid pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues - but many Whitehall officials are concerned the advice is being ignored, with people contining to go out as normal.

As a result, it is suspected the Government will launch the emergency measures in the coming days, to mandate the lockdown of such venues. London is braced for lockdown as the Government prepares emergency legislation to prevent the spread of coronavirus, The Telegraph understands. Sources close to the Mayor's office say they expect a shutdown of the capital in the coming days. Legislation in the Coronavirus Bill would give the Government emergency powers to "close premises" and "restrict or prohibit events and gatherings", including restricting transport networks. There is alarm in Whitehall that Boris Johnson's call for people to avoid pubs and restaurants and to work at home is being ignored in large numbers.

New figures from Transport for London show a 19 per cent decline in Tube travel but just a 10 per cent reduction on the buses, while anecdotal reports suggest some pubs remain packed in the evenings. A source close to Sadiq Khan, London's Mayor, said: "We expect a shutdown of London, but nobody in central Government is saying when that will be or what form it will take. "The Prime Minister is saying we need to go faster and further, and there is a spike of cases in London which is running ahead of the country – but what that actually means, the Mayor's office doesn't yet know because Downing Street hasn't said." LONDON could enter a coronavirus lockdown - with extra travel restrictions for Brits in the capital. Sources close to City Hall say the Government is preparing fresh legislation to give them the power to stop gatherings, and keep Londoners inside. 5 London will face extra measures from the end of the week Credit: AFP or licensors It could include measures to stop Londoners leaving their homes except to go to the supermarket or pharmacy, The Sun has been told.

Downing Street said today that ministers could use existing laws to keep individuals "in isolation for their own safety". And the emergency powers could come as early as Friday, though sources stressed the plans were not imminent. Measures like this are being considered because London is the worst affected area in the country - with 621 cases and 25 deaths. The PM said earlier this week that the virus was spreading faster in London than other parts of the country - and people in the capital should take extra note of the new rules. No10 today did not deny that extra measures were coming specifically for London.

A spokesperson said: "We have set out the steps necessary at this point in time. Earlier this week Boris announced strict new measures - telling everyone to work from home if they can, and to stop going out and socialising with friends and family. But insiders said the Government were alarmed that Londoners were ignoring calls to avoid pubs and restaurants, and further action needed to be taken to stop the spread. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier that London may have to take "more stringent measures" because of its outbreak curve. Legislation could allow the Government to shut down premises too. New figures from Transport for London show a drop of 20 per cent on the tubes and buses at the start of March already. FRANCE Since midday yesterday in France, people are only allowed to go out to make essential trips such as going to the supermarket, pharmacy and work if they have to. Restaurants and bars are closed, while public transport is severely limited. All schools, restaurants, bars and cafes are shut, and anyone that does venture out has to fill in a set of forms too. All non-essential venues have been shut down and people told only to leave home if absolutely necessary for food or medication. The country, which has reported nearly 12,000 cases and nearly 500 deaths, and today closed all hotels and demanded tourists leave urgently. The government shuttered schools on March 11 and announced an official state of emergency on Friday. All bars and restaurants have closed and there are fines of up to 600,000 euros for disobeying the lockdown ban. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has warned his people they faced "very difficult weeks" of sacrifices ahead. And today it was announced that schools in Wales and Scotland would shut on Friday. England's announcement is set to come later today. MOST READ IN POLITICS Breaking SCHOOL'S OUT Scotland and Wales schools SHUT as Boris says decision 'imminent' for England ON YOUR SIDE Boris Johnson promises new law to stop renters getting evicted RENTAL HELP Hard-pressed renters affected by coronavirus will be able to delay payments JOBS CRISIS Coronavirus could see a million workers lose their jobs within MONTHS SHUT BRITAIN PM says 1.4m must stay in for 12 WEEKS & tells everyone else 'avoid going out' Latest HEALTH CHEQUE Boris promises £350bn 'war-time' bailout to stop coronavirus wrecking economy UK GROUNDED Brits told not to travel ANYWHERE around the world over coronavirus PUPIL REVOLT Thousands of parents keep kids at home despite schools being told to stay open WHY NOT? Officials are braced for coronavirus "lockdown" measures to be ramped up in London within days, the Mirror understands. Multiple sources expect restrictions to be drastically tightened in the coming days as COVID-19 races ahead in the capital. Emergency laws to be introduced to Parliament tomorrow will include powers to "close premises" and "restrict or prohibit events and gatherings" anywhere in the UK, if the government chooses to. The Coronavirus Bill will also allow the government to limit activity in "any place, vehicle, train, vessel or aircraft" - leading to fears there could be restrictions on public transport. Whitehall sources today told the Mirror lockdown-style measures in London - which Boris Johnson admitted is "a few weeks ahead" of the rest of the country - are "imminent". No10 sources 'firmly' told The Sun there would not be lockdown style measures today or tomorrow. Sources close to London mayor Sadiq Khan's office said they expect a tightening of restrictions in the capital in the coming days. City Hall sources criticised the lack of information from the Government. One said: "We have not heard anything on this - this lack of information doesn't sound like the best way to govern during a national emergency". Boris Johnson's spokesman today did not rule out a tightening of restrictions in the capital in future. Asked if London was going to be "locked down", he said: "It's a question of what you mean by that. "In terms of the measures that we're taking, we've always said they'll always be based on the latest and the best scientific advice including from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Advisor." Asked if people may end up not allowed out of their homes unless they have paperwork to show a legitimate reason, like in France, Boris Johnson's spokesman said: "We've set out the steps which we think are necessary at this point in time. "But we will be guided by scientific and medical advice to ensure we take the right steps to protect the public." Downing Street pointed out that London appeared to be ahead of the rest of the UK in the spread of the virus. "[The Prime Minister] advised people in London to pay particular attention to the measures which we were putting in place in terms of limiting contact," Boris Johnson's spokesman said. And asked if the measures would continue to be voluntary, the PM's spokesman said: "We always said we'll do whatever is required to keep the public safe based on scientific and medical advice."