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Number 10 insists 'zero prospect' of travel restrictions in London amid virus lockdown speculation

Number 10 insists 'zero prospect' of travel restrictions in London amid virus lockdown speculation

The comments come after TfL announce 40 tube stations would be shut

2 min read

Number 10 has insisted there is "zero prospect" of travel restrictions being implemented in London following speculation the Government were preparing to a lockdown of the capital to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Reports suggested that tougher travel restrictions, plus limits on people leaving their homes, could be brought in before the weekend as the number of confirmed cases in the capital continues to rise.

Boris Johnson also warned on Wednesday that he was prepared to take "further and faster measures" to tackle the outbreak in London, currently the worst-affected part of the UK.

But a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: "There are no plans to close down the transport network in London, and there is zero prospect of any restriction being place on travelling in and out of London."

Transport for London has already announced the closure of 40 Tube stations across London, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said people should not use public transport unless they "really, really have to".

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced 20,000 troops had been placed on standby to deal with the emergency, including backfiling roles in the NHS and helping deliver critical supplies to hospitals.

But the No10 spokesperson insisted the Army were not being made ready to enforce any kind of lockdown, adding: "Maintenance of public order is the responsibility of the police and there are no plans to use military personnel for public order during the coronavirus pandemic."

A senior government source added: "It is not going to happen here. There is not going to be any point where there are border guards stood in London saying you can't come in or out. That is not the sort of country we are."

However, the spokesperson refused to rule out tougher restrictions on bars and restaurants remaining open in the capital because many people were flaunting advice from ministers to avoid all "unnecessary social contact".

"The Prime Minister and his advisers have set out the need for social distancing measures to limit the spread of the virus, and to protect lives," they said when asked about the plans. 

"What we are focussed on is ensuring as many people as possible take that advice and don't unneccessarily put themselves in positon where they could be spreading coronavirus.

"We do want people to follow the advice which we have given in relation to limiting unnessesary social contact."

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