The mayor of London has written to the PM calling for urgent action against soaring Covid infections in the capital, including the closure of schools, but other members of the Labour Party say schools should be the last to close.

London’s Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan, has urged the government to close schools and colleges early in the run-up to Christmas because of “significant” coronavirus outbreaks among 10 to 19-year-olds. 

In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London said: “Urgent consideration must … be given to closing secondary schools, sixth form and FE colleges a few days early and keeping them closed for longer after Christmas.” 

The call comes as high infection rates in some east-end boroughs look set to pull the whole capital into a tier three lockdown, and a decision has been taken by Greenwich Council to move classes online amid an “exponential growth” of the pandemic. 

A spokesman for Khan said: “What Greenwich calls for is a matter for them locally. Sadiq of course shares their concerns – they are doing this to try to halt the spread of infections in their area.” 

However, the Labour Party appears split on the matter.

Earlier on Monday, Labour leader Keir Starmer told LBC that he is “very reluctant to close our schools,” while shadow cabinet minister Rachel Reeves added “schools should be the last thing to close.” 

MPs were warned on Monday that the Covid-19 situation is becoming increasingly serious in the capital and that the NHS is under “significant pressure,” with adult critical care capacity is at 93.9 percent. 

England’s tier system is set to be reviewed on Wednesday, with many people assuming London will be moved from tier two to tier three, a move which would see bars, restaurants and shops close in the run-up to Christmas. 

Some parts of the capital, such as Basildon, have infection rates many times the national average, while areas such as Richmond are below that figure. 

The infection rate in Basildon is 604 cases per 100,000 people, three times the infection rate required to put an area into a tier three lockdown.

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