London declares ‘major incident’ over rising coronavirus cases

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LONDON — London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” in the capital Friday, warning that the spread of coronavirus was now “out of control” and the city’s hospitals are “at risk of being overwhelmed.”

London now has 35 percent more COVID patients in its hospitals than at the peak of the U.K. epidemic in April. Between December 30 and January 6 the number soared from from 5,524 to 7,034 and could continue to rise, Khan said.

Khan made the announcement as chair of the London Resilience Forum which brings together NHS, public health, local council leaders and emergency services. It reflects the need for special arrangements to be made by emergency services and local authorities. Previous major incidents have included the London terror attacks of 2017 and the Grenfell Tower fire of the same year.

“The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,” Khan said. “The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.

“Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically.”

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial.

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