Covid nightmare: London's poor vaccination rate threatens restrictions for whole of UK

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Fears for further restrictions coming in January have heightened once again after the UK reported 129,471 new cases of COVID-19. The latest data showed the number of patients in hospitals in England with COVID-19 was 9,546, up from 6,902 a week ago. But almost a third of the people in hospital with COVID-19 are reportedly in London.

Some hospitals in the capital are said to be cancelling non-urgent care due to the rising admissions and staff shortages.

Professor Alison Leary, chairwoman of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University, said up to four in 10 healthcare workers could be absent in London within days.

But in contrast with previous lockdowns, ministers are said to be adamant not to impose restrictions on a regional basis.

A Government source told the Times: “We are not looking at doing regional restrictions. That is not on the table.”

And another added: “There are big downsides to doing anything regionally and we saw the difficulties they posed when we did it last time.

“It is difficult for people to understand because of different sets of rules. We want one set of rules for everyone in the country.”

That means that the whole of the UK could pay the price for London, where vaccination rates are the lowest in the country.

The proportion of the population without a single jab is three times as high in the capital as in the country as a whole.

In Westminster four in 10 people have reportedly not had a single jab.

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But that may not be necessary, of the record cases seen yesterday, 18 deaths were recorded.

Professor Sir John Bell, from the University of Oxford, said: “The behaviour of people in the UK, in England in particular, has been pretty responsible in terms of trying not to go out and spending a lot of time exposing yourself to the virus.

“You look at the people on the streets, the roads are quiet.

“I think that’s likely to continue for the next week as we see how this thing evolves.

“The horrific scenes we saw a year ago — intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely — that is now history in my view and we should be reassured that’s likely to continue.”

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