Patients arrive in ambulances at the Royal London Hospital, on January 05, 2021 in London, England. The British Prime Minister made a national television address on Monday evening announcing England is to enter its third lockdown of the covid-19 pandemic. This week the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the seventh day in a row.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON — London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday declared a major incident over the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the U.K.’s capital city.

He had previously warned the virus was “out of control” and the National Health Service was “on the cusp of being overwhelmed.”

“I have declared a major incident in London because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point,” Khan said via Twitter.

“One in 30 Londoners now has COVID-19. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die,” he added.

The announcement comes shortly after weekly data through to Jan. 2 found London’s coronavirus infection rate had surged to 1,038 per 100,000 population. This figure compares with a city-wide infection rate of 818 per 100,000 for the previous week.

By comparison, the national infection rate stood at 612 per 100,000 for the week ending Jan. 2.

The increased pressure on already strained health facilities in the city coincides with the resurgent spread of Covid-19, as the U.K. scrambles to contain a highly infectious variant of the virus.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the third national lockdown for England in an attempt to curb the virus spread. The measures legally came into force on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the U.K. recorded 52,618 new cases of the coronavirus, according to official data, and 1,162 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for the virus.

Major incidents have previously been declared in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and the terror attacks at Westminster Bridge in March 2017 and London Bridge in November 2019.



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