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A major incident has been declared in London with warnings the capital’s NHS is on the “cusp of being overwhelmed” by coronavirus.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, announced it today over the increase of Covid-19 cases in the capital's hospitals.
He warned hospital beds will run out in the next two weeks "unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically".
The number of Covid patients is more than a third higher than during the first peak last April, he added.
Figures show one in 30 people in the city now has the virus.
The mayor said: "I have declared a major incident in London because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point.
"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."
There are currently more than 7,000 Covid patients in the city’s hospitals, nearly 2,000 more than last April.
Nearly 1,000 Covid patients are on ventilators.
A further 10,000 people in London tested positive for the virus on Thursday, the Evening Standard reports.
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A "major incident" means the "severity of the consequences" associated with it are "likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident".
Mr Khan has written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, asking for more financial support for Londoners who need to self-isolate and unable to work, and for daily vaccination data.
He is also asking for the closure of places of worship and for face masks to be worn routinely outside of the home, including in crowded places and supermarket queues.
Mr Khan added: “The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.
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"The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.
"Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed.
“The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically.
"Londoners continue to make huge sacrifices and I am today imploring them to please stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave.
"Stay at home to protect yourself, your family, friends and other Londoners and to protect our NHS."
Earlier this week, a leaked NHS briefing warned London’s hospitals are less than a fortnight away from being overwhelmed by the virus.
NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said on Thursday there was a material risk hospitals in the capital could be overwhelmed in the next 21 days.
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