The national lockdown will come to an end on December 2, but unfortunately that won’t be the end of restrictions, as coronavirus is still in circulation.
After this, regions in England will return to a tiered system of lockdowns similar to what was in place before – only slightly more strict.
Boris Johnson set out a rough timeline for when we would find out what tier each area will be in as he gave a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon.
He said: ‘Later this week we will announce which areas will fall into which tier. I hope on Thursday.’
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This will be based on an analysis of cases in all age groups especially the over 60s, the rate by which cases are rising or falling, the percentage of those tested in a local population who have Covid, and the current and projected pressures on the NHS.
Mr Johnson added: ‘I’m sorry to say we expect that more regions will fall at least temporarily into higher levels than before.
‘But by using these tougher tiers and by using rapid turnaround tests on an ever greater scale, to drive R below 1 and keep it there, it should be possible for areas to move down the tiering scale to lower levels of restrictions.
‘By maintaining the pressure on the virus, we can also enable people to see more of their family and friends over Christmas.’
He said that the incident of Covid-19 is still widespread in many areas, so it would not be possible to lift the restrictions completely in a ‘free for all’.
Announcing the roadmap for the next few months, he said: ‘We are going to go back instead to a regional tiered approach applying the toughest measures where Covid is most prevalent.
‘And while the previous local tiers did cut the R number, they were not quite enough to reduce it below 1 so the scientific advice I’m afraid is that as we come out, our tiers need to be made tougher.
‘In particular, in tier one people should work from home wherever possible, in tier two alcohol may only be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal, in tier three indoor entertainment, hotels, and other accommodation will have to close along with all forms of hospitality except for delivery and takeaways. And I’m very sorry obviously for the unavoidable hardship that this will cause for business owners who have already endured so much disruption this year.’
The previous tiers were not uniform, with the government negotiating different rules with each region that went into the highest level of restrictions.
This time there will be a uniform set of rules, the prime minister said.
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