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luisa porritt by the River Thames

Lib Dems call for London-specific Covid-19 pandemic inquiry

Senior Liberal Democrats have called for an independent inquiry into why London is so badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In a letter addressed to all mayoral candidates, Lib Dem Mayor of London candidate, Luisa Porritt, and Lib Dem leader, Sir Ed Davey, noted that the capital is now seeing some of the highest rates of infection once again in the current wave.

The letter says that the Government’s refusal to lockdown the capital last March is likely to have cost many lives and that their decisions since have will have cost both lives and jobs.

It also highlights the lack of PPE, a failed test, trace, and isolate system, and calls Boris Johnson’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis an utter fiasco. 

Porritt said: “London was the first UK region to be badly hit by Covid-19 back in March last year, and it is devastating that nine months later we are in an even worse situation.

“It didn’t have to be this way. Londoners deserve answers on how things have turned out so badly. How we ended up with our hospitals overwhelmed, the highest infection rate in the country, and most job losses.  

“That’s why I’m calling on all mayoral candidates to back a London-focused inquiry into the handling of the pandemic response in our capital.” 

More than 10,000 people in London have died from Covid-19 and London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a ‘major incident’ in the city last week as infection rates exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 people, according to Public Health England.  

Barking and Dagenham is the worst-hit borough with 1,511 cases per 100,000. 

As of 14 January, the total number of Covid-19 in London was 548,116, about 19% of the total cases in England.

More than 90% of hospital beds in London and the South East are occupied by Covid-19 cases and the London Ambulance Service currently receive up to 8,000 calls a day compared to 5,500 on a typical busy day. 

Porritt added: “Any future Mayor of London will need to learn the lessons from this appalling set of events and make sure this never happens to our capital again.” 

Porritt previously called London’s move into Tier 3 a month ago ‘avoidable’ and you can read that story here.

Featured image credit: Andrew King Photography

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