London Mayor Khan declares 'major incident' as coronavirus cases surge, hospitals 'overwhelmed'

Sadiq Khan | Official Facebook account

Khan said the city was at a crisis point.

The capital has been particularly hard hit by the latest wave of infections.

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".

'Stay at home to protect yourself, your family, friends and other Londoners and to protect our NHS'.

City Hall said the London Ambulance Service is now taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day, compared with 5,500 on a typical busy day.

Public Health England said the number of deaths would "continue to rise until we stop the spread".

Because of the nature of the illness there is a lag between the number of cases rising and falling and a corresponding change in hospital admissions and deaths. The number of patients in London's hospitals has grown by 27 percent over the last week and the number on ventilators has increased by 42 percent. Figures released Tuesday by the U.K.'s national statistics office estimated that one in 30 people were infected with Covid-19 in London between December 27 and January 2, compared to around 1 in 50 in England as a whole.

"When you look at the data, it shows that nearly 90% of people are overwhelmingly adhering to the rules despite the fact that we're also seeing more people out and about", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Not only do you put severe strain on the health system but you prevent other health conditions that may also need urgent or important treatment from being able to access those services at the time". We know this will sadly lead to large numbers of deaths, so strong and immediate action is needed. One senior consultant at a hospital in the Home Counties added: "We are trying to move non-Covid work to private hospitals and not cancel cancer surgery, but inevitably routine surgery will be cancelled, as is already happening in some areas".

Staff said they are "resilient" to the challenge ahead, but conceded there is little room for manoeuvre.

'Everyone's stress levels are higher than usual.

'The hospital bed occupancy is very, very high, it has lots of Covid patients as inpatients at the moment.

St George's has had to expand the number of intensive care beds for the critically sick from 60 to 120, the vast majority of which are for coronavirus patients.

He further said that the Covid-19 situation was critical as the spread of the virus was "out of control", adding that over a third of more patients were being treated in our hospitals now as compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.

Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology at University College London, said "more support and enablement" was needed for people to adhere to the regulations, for example support to help people self-isolate, rather than punishment.