Hackney's mayor has welcomed the declaration of a major incident in London as the borough see's Covid infection rates soar by almost 50 per cent and a 40pc rise in the number of Covid patients in hospital.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made the declaration on December 18 in response to concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant across the capital and increasing pressure on the NHS.

The declaration of a major incident will allow authorities to work together and support each other to reduce service disruption as well as allowing more time to give out booster jabs, the mayor of London's office said.

Hackney's mayor Philip Glanville said in response to the declaration: "The Omicron variant has provided us with a stark reminder that we are still in the middle of a serious pandemic that continues to affect our lives and those of our loved ones.

"This is a welcome and timely response from the Mayor and I want to reassure everyone that Hackney is also stepping up its measures to provide our residents with the best possible support and care."

Mayor Glanville said that Hackney Council is working with its partners in the borough, speaking with hospitals and emergency services to deal with added pressures and maintaining services to "keep Hackney safe".

It also expanded testing, tracing and vaccination capacity over the course of last week.

Infection rates in Hackney had increased by 48pc in the week ending December 7. Hospital Homerton has also reported a 43.8pc rise in bed occupancy by Covid patients.

The mayor of Hackney added: "There are still over 100,000 people in the borough who are yet to come forward for their first dose of the vaccine and are at risk of getting seriously ill, admitted to hospital or losing their life if they catch the virus.

"So I urge you all to follow our four steps for Covid well-being to ensure we protect ourselves, those around us and stop the spread of the virus: stay home, stay safe, get vaccinated and take regular tests.

"We’ll continue to do everything in our power to keep you safe and provide the free support you need to help you self-isolate, get vaccinated and get tested."

Find out more at hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-support