London Coronavirus Digest 17 March 2020: Trying to keep up

London Coronavirus Digest 17 March 2020: Trying to keep up

So much is happening with the virus in the capital and things have been changing so fast, I’m wondering if it might be better and more useful to readers if instead of trying (and failing) to write up every small but interesting story separately I make a little list of them towards the end of each day with helpful links. Try these:

  • After his meeting with London business leaders and others yesterday, Sadiq Khan wrote to Boris Johnson this morning asking for “more rapid and ambitious action” to support the capital’s economy, such as support schemes to help firms with payroll bills and employees who have to reduce their hours. The letter is posted in full here.
  • The Mayor later welcomed additional measures announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak, but expressed concerns that the help won’t come soon enough and that much of it takes the form of loans that will have to be repaid. He also noted that although there will be a “mortgage holiday” for home owners there was nothing for London’s private renters. Sunak has since said that housing minister Robert Jenrick – not a public admirer of the Mayor, by the way – will soon come up with something “to protect renters in these difficult times“.
  • Following the cancellation of London’s St Patrick’s day Parade, Mayor Khan has now also called off scheduled annual Trafalgar Square events marked St George’s Day (18 April), Vaisakhi (25 April) and Eid (30 May). Ninety minutes after that press release went out he responded to the news that this summer’s Euro 2020 football tournament, which was to stage seven matches at Wembley including the final, will now have a year-late kick-off. The legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once joked that football is not a matter of life and death, but much more important. Khan, a Liverpool fan, respectfully inverted the sentiment.
  • There have been various reports of London schools closing or part-closing or finding that pupil numbers are reducing on a daily basis. A distinctive educational establishment in Croydon has announced that it will be completely closed until 15 April due to “many staff being isolated”. At the BRIT school, alas, the show must not go on for a while.
  • Kensington & Chelsea Council wrote to traders in the Portobello and Goldborne markets this morning, telling them that because of coronavirus they will not have to pay rent for three months for sites or parking bays. The royal borough is also waiving library fees on books and other items that have been borrowed so that residents keeping their distance from others won’t feel under pressure to return them.
  • The total number of confirmed cases in Greater London as of 9:00 a.m. was 621. Southwark and Westminster had the most, with 58 each. Kingston had the fewest with just one. is dedicated to improving the standard of coverage of London’s politics, development and culture. It depends on donations from readers. Can you spare £5 (or more) a month? Follow this link if you would like to help. Thank you.







Categories: News


  1. Ann Rosenberg says:

    Stephen Cowan Leader of LBHF is someone to watch as his decisions are ahead of the curve. A dedicated team to deal with the impact of c-19 on adult social care was brought together two weeks ago. He closed parks several days ago, although after the mixed messages in the PM’s speech to the nation are taken on board, the local parks may reopen. I think you know him. Anyway I think keeping your finger on his pulse is worthwhile as his stewardship is forward looking and I think is inspired. He has enormous emotional intelligence, a rare quality in politicians.
    He has put aside ideological differences and is working with Greg Hands MP for the benefit of Fulham residents.You may also like to do a feature on Hammersmith Bridge and the reasons for its closure which are more complex than reported,
    and the support of neighbouring boroughs regardless of politics.
    Thank you for what you do. Journalism of your calibre is precious, especially during these interesting times.

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