A ‘major incident’ has been declared on London as Covid-19 continues to put emergency services under enormous pressure.
Sadiq Khan said hospitals are operating at full capacity and other key services are struggling with staff absenteeism.
This is the first time London has faced this situation since last winter’s coronavirus outbreak.
The capital has seen 65,525 new confirmed cases in the past seven days and 26,418 reported cases in the last 24 hour period alone, a new record.
The mayor’s office said the absence of staff in frontline services was ‘causing a challenge’.
A major incident is declared when pressure on emergency services could lead to ‘serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services’ , environment or national security’
Coordination between public services will be enhanced and overseen by a central committee, which will have government representatives sitting on it.
The last major incident lasted from January 8 to February 26.
Hospitalization rates in London have increased by 29% in the past seven days and continue to rise.
Mr Khan said: ‘The increase in Omicron variant cases across our capital is very worrying, so we are once again declaring a major incident due to the threat of COVID-19 for our city.
‘The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with the number of cases rapidly increasing and the number of patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals on the rise again.
‘We are already feeling the impact across the capital and while we are still learning about this variation, it is true that key London agencies work closely together to minimize the impact on the city our services, including helping to protect a vital immunization program.
‘We know that vaccines provide our best protection against the virus. There are now more clinics in London offering vaccines than at any other time during the pandemic.
‘I urge all Londoners to make an appointment or visit one of the many walking centers across the capital as soon as you can.’
The announcement came after the Union of Fire Brigade warned Up to a third of London’s engines cannot be commissioned at points this week because of staff shortages.
London Ambulance Service has advised people to call 999 only in emergencies amid unprecedented call levels.
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https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/18/london-nhs-fire-and-police-staffing-gaps-declared-major-incident-15791689/?ITO=metro-trending London: NHS, fire and police staffing gaps declared major incidents