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London moving to 'high' alert level with coronavirus restrictions

London moving to 'high' alert level with coronavirus restrictions
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British health authorities announced Thursday that London would move to a "high" alert status as a result of rising coronavirus infection rates, an order that comes as the United Kingdom at large has seen a sharp increase in new COVID-19 cases.

The National Health Service said on Twitter that Londoners should avoid social gatherings indoors and limit their journeys from home, while working from home whenever possible.

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"Until the Government fixes the test and trace system the only tool we have to control the virus is further restrictions. Ministers need to get a grip and deliver the test-and-trace system we need to save lives and livelihoods," added London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, in his own statement.

"From Saturday the Govt will move London into tier 2 restrictions," Khan added. "I know this will require Londoners to make yet more sacrifices, but the disastrous failure of the test & trace system leaves us with little choice. Not acting now would cost more lives and damage more livelihoods."

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The U.K. now has recorded the most deaths from the COVID-19 outbreak of any country in Europe, and has seen its rates of new infection skyrocket past previous records in recent weeks.

The confirmed number of infections in the U.K. jumped by nearly 20,000 on Wednesday as the country marked its second day in a row with more than 100 deaths from the disease within a 24-hour period.

Britain's government moved earlier this month to simplify its alert system for COVID-19 infections and announced a three-tiered system for local COVID-19 restrictions; London currently falls under the middle level of restrictions.