A MAJOR incident has today been declared in London with hospitals at breaking point as Covid cases continue to rocket with

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is also urging Londoners wear masks "routinely" outside their homes as one in 30 Londoners is now infected.

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He said the NHS is "on the cusp of being overwhelmed" with more than 7,000 Covid patients in London hospitals — almost 2,000 more than the first peak last April.

And he warned hospitals will run out of beds in the next two weeks unless the spread is slowed down "drastically".

He has also asked Boris Johnson to close places of worship and urged the PM to hand over money for Londoners who need to self-isolate and are unable to work.

Mr Khan added: "The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.

“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. 

“We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die."

He also urged Londoners to stay home and protect the NHS and save lives with 477 deaths in hospitals in just three days..

What is a major incident?

A major incident is declared when the "severity of the consequences" associated with it are "likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident".

It involves an event where there is likely to be serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security”

A major incident is also defined as being “beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations".

This means special arrangements to be implemented to deal with the event.

They have been declared previously for the Grenfell Tower blaze in 2017 and the terror attacks in Westminster and London Bridge and the 2016 Croydon tram crash.

Between December 30 and January 6, patients needing ventilators grew by 42 per cent to 908.

There are also 830 admissions to London hospital trusts per day – up from 500 before Christmas – with fears this number will rise.

The London Ambulance Service is currently taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day, compared to 5,500 on a typical busy day.

And more than 100 firefighters have been drafted in to drive ambulances to help cope with the demand.

It comes as alarming figures revealed 9,306 Londoners had died in total within 28 days of a positive test.

And the number of cases in people aged over 60 in the capital has quadrupled since early December.

London and the South East have been ravaged by a new mutant strain of the virus sending infections soaring.

The R-rate has now hit 1.4 across the UK with the variant up to 74 per cent more transmissible.

NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens warned yesterday more than 800 patients are being admitted to hospital in London each day with Covid.

“That’s equivalent to a new St Thomas’ hospital full of Covid each day”, he added.

Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said: “Cases are rising at a dangerous rate in London, putting extreme pressure on the NHS.

“One in 30 Londoners now has Covid. This is why public services across London are urging all Londoners to please stay at home except for absolutely essential shopping and exercise.

“We know how tough this is for Londoners. Councils are here to support anyone struggling to access food or medicine.

“Today, the thoughts of London leaders are with the thousands of Londoners in hospital battling Covid and the amazing carers fighting to save lives. We owe it to them to do all we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

“This is a dark and difficult time for our city but there is light at end of the tunnel with the vaccine rollout. We are asking Londoners to come together one last time to stop the spread – lives really do depend on it.”

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