Thursday, 19 March 2020

London WON'T be isolated

London will not be cut off from the rest of the country despite facing a tougher lockdown within days amid fears it is driving the UK's coronavirus outbreak.

Downing Street insisted there is 'zero' prospect' of trains in and out of the capital being axed, and there are 'no plans' to shut down the Tube system, although services have been pared back. 

The PM's spokesman also insisted it is 'not true' that only one person from each household will be allowed to leave their homes. 

However, the nine-million inhabitants of the capital are set for tighter restrictions on their movements - with signs the government will urge people to stay at home unless it is absolutely essential. 

Contingency plans are believed to be in place for police to guard shops and helicopters to airdrop food, although sources insisted that is not happening at this stage in the unfolding crisis. 

Camp beds and food stocks were seen being moved into Downing Street today, in more evidence that Boris Johnson and his aides are bunkering down for the situation to escalate. 

The PM fueled speculation about the fate of the capital last night by vowing he will not hesitate to go 'further and faster' to control the spread of the deadly virus.

He said 'ruthless' enforcement of so-called social distancing measures – such as working from home and avoiding social gatherings in pubs, cinemas and restaurants – was needed. 

Some 953 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in London – more than a third of the UK total of 2,626.

Health minister Nadine Dorries has vented her fury at images of still-busy bars and cafes in the capital, tweeting: 'This is not social distancing, it is irresponsible behaviour and the price to pay for such selfishness will be severe for us all.'  

Tube services in the capital are already being downgraded, with 40 stations shutting. Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the public to travel only if they 'really, really have to'. In a desperate plea to residents, he said: 'I want to see more Londoners following the expert advice.'

The PM's spokesman said: 'There are no plans to close down the transport network in London and there is zero prospect of any restrictions being placed on travelling in and out of London.' 

It comes as military chiefs are putting up to 20,000 troops on standby to be deployed to Britain's streets, hospitals and other key sites to help tackle the pandemic. Reservists have also been told they must be read to join a 'Covid support force'.

Some 150 soldiers are undergoing fast-track training on how to drive oxygen tankers around the country in order to supply hospitals.  


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