Millions of people in England will today find out which tier they will be living under from next week, with the majority of the nation expected to be put under tier two measures.

London and Liverpool are expected to avoid the toughest tier three restrictions, while it is thought that only a small number of rural areas will get away with the softest tier one rules.

The health secretary will today announce the fates of each local authority in Parliament, after the Government set out its coronavirus ‘winter plan’ earlier this week which will include a five-day relaxing of rules over the Christmas period.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Each area will be placed back into one of the three tiers when the national lockdown ends on December 2. But measures have been toughened from the previous system meaning more authorities will be plunged under stricter tiers, prompting accusations that the prime minister has essentially pushed through another lockdown.

Visit our live blog for the latest updates Coronavirus news live

Boris Johnson warned MPs last night that the new measures are going to be ‘very tough’. ‘We’ve got to keep our foot on the throat of this virus,’ Mr Johnson said, according to The Times.

Ministers are set to review the measures on December 16 and areas which are successfully lowering transmission rates could be dropped down a tier ahead of Christmas.

Government sources said ‘at least one’ of the cities that was previously in tier three will drop to tier two, with reports suggesting that could be Liverpool after its infection rate dropped to 162 per 100,000 compared with 700 five weeks ago.

The capital is also expected to be placed into tier two, along with most authorities in the country, meaning mixing with other households indoors is still banned but pubs and restaurants can re-open for table service.

Reports suggested there would only be few areas in England placed in tier one, with parts of eastern England and remote areas in Cornwall and Cumbria are expected to be allocated the lightest measures.

Manchester is thought to remain in tier three measures, which will be tougher than last time with rules that are largely similar to those of the nation’s current lockdown.

Mixing with other households indoors is banned, while pubs and restaurants must continue to stick to takeaway service only – but non-essential shops can reopen along with hairdressers and gyms.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who took on the prime minister over funding when his area was forced into the strictest measures, said it was ‘more likely than not’ that Mancunians would face the same fate this time.

He said although infection numbers in Greater Manchester were still high, the rates were falling.

He added: ‘If things continue in this direction at the rate at which we are seeing change in Greater Manchester, I would want to ask the Government for a serious review of Greater Manchester’s position at the first review of tiering arrangements which is scheduled to take place two weeks from now.’

Areas placed in tier three will be offered support from NHS Test and Trace and the Armed Forces to deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme, making use of rapid lateral flow tests which give results within an hour.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Mr Hancock said: ‘Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice made by people up and down the country, we are able to move out of national lockdown and into more targeted local, tiered restrictions.

‘I know for those of you faced with Tier 3 restrictions this will be a particularly difficult time but I want to reassure you that we’ll be supporting your areas with mass community testing and extra funding.

‘By following the rules together we can get out of these tough measures.’

The announcement comes after the UK Government and devolved leaders announced that up to three households will be allowed to form Christmas bubbles.

Between December 23 – 27, restrictions will be lifted so Britons can see their families over the festive period – but ministers were quick to caution that it ‘cannot be a normal Christmas’.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Advertisement

Advertisement