Boris Johnson announcement: PM confirms new ‘three tier’ lockdown system because we can’t ‘let this virus rip’
BORIS Johnson has today unveiled a new ‘three tier’ lockdown system – warning we can’t “let this virus rip”.
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Boris Johnson announced the new measures today[/caption]
Coronavirus restrictions have been tightened in the north[/caption]
Speaking in the Commons today, Mr Johnson said Britain was becoming “better and better” at fighting this virus but needed to tread the “narrow path” to prevent the social and economic trauma of an “uncontained epidemic”.
Under Mr Johnson’s plan, areas of England will be ordered into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels under a new three-tier system of local restrictions.
Liverpool will be placed under the highest level, while Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire will be put under the second tier.
The full list of areas and the tiers they are in is expected to be confirmed later today.
Mr Johnson said today: “The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country.
“But I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed.”
- Liverpool will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions
- Nottinghamshire will be placed under Tier 2 restrictions
- East and West Cheshire will be under Tier 2
- A small area of High Peak will also go to Tier 2
- The North East is understood to be going into Tier 2 restrictions
- Manchester is expected to be put into Tier 2
- Birmingham faces Tier 2 restrictions
- Leicester is also expected to be put on Tier 2
The PM said the new plan would help to simplify the current rules, adding: “This is not how we want to live our lives but it is the narrow path we have to tread.”
And he said that while there was a “good chance” of a vaccine, it “cannot be taken for granted”.
The number of coronavirus cases has so far quadrupled in the last three weeks with more people in hospital with the bug than when the country went into full lockdown in March.
Matt Hancock has today been briefing local leaders over the new restrictions with Merseyside MPs told that all bars and pubs would be closed in Liverpool – but restaurants would remain open for now.
Liverpool – which will go into level 3 restrictions, the highest alert possible, on Wednesday – will also have its gyms and betting shops closed as part of the desperate attempt to stop the rising cases of coronavirus.
Legal restrictions on indoor house mixing, as well as guidance on travel restrictions, are also expected to be announced.
Greater Manchester was also told to expect to be put on Tier 2 lockdown and Oldham to be brought into line with the regulations after being under enhanced lockdown.
Jim McMahon, Oldham West and Royton MP, said: “Call with the Secretary of State confirms Greater Manchester will be placed in Tier 2.
“Household restrictions on meeting indoors in any setting, but not outdoors.
“Pubs serving food remain open.
“Oldham will be removed from its enhanced lockdown measures and brought into line with Greater Manchester at last.”
And one senior Conservative has said the British people need to “brace, brace” as the new rules will be “hard to stomach”.
It comes as…
- Nightingales across the North are on standby as hospitals are four weeks off levels seen at the peak of virus
- A senior Tory warned things may still get “sh****r yet” with Britain back to where we were in March
- Overnight stays will be forbidden in northern virus hotspots for four weeks
- Residents can only leave the highest risk regions for essential travel such as work, education or health reasons, and must return that day
- Most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held three weeks later to help soften the blow of the pandemic’s disruption
- The number of coronavirus patients in hospital is higher now than when the whole country was put into lockdown in March
The politician described the next phase as going to be “sh”, but warned that it “may get sh****r yet”.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said he was “sceptical” the Government had a plan to control the virus.
He said: “The question today is whether the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister can bring the country back from the brink, whether they can regain control of the virus and provide the support and confidence that local businesses and communities need. That is how high the stakes now are.”
But Mr Johnson hit back, saying: “I strongly urge him to work out where he stands, to stop flip-flopping from one side to the next – or rather to go back to his previous position which was to support the restrictive measures where necessary to drive the virus down.”
Under the tier system, England will be placed into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels under the new restrictions.
Areas listed as medium will be subject to the same rules as those which currently apply across the country, such as the rule of six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.
In the high alert level, which will apply to most of the areas already subject to restrictions, household mixing will be banned indoors. Support bubbles will still be permitted, however.
The very high alert level will apply to areas causing the most concern, and social mixing will be prohibited indoors and in private gardens.
Pubs and bars will be closed in the very high alert level areas unless they can operate as a restaurant. People will also be advised against travel in and out of the areas.
And Mr Johnson said there will be a four-week “sunset clause” for interventions in very high areas.
He said: “While these levels specifically apply to England, we continue to work closely with the devolved administrations to tackle this virus across the whole United Kingdom.”
Nightingales across the North are now on standby as hospitals are four weeks off levels seen at the peak of virus, doctors have warned.
Knowsley and Liverpool, two of the affected areas, are in the top three for infection rates in England – at 669.5 per 100,000 people and 598.5 respectively.
This chart shows a more in-depth look at hospital admissions in the North West and North East of England[/caption]
I’m pleased that, for now, it’s unlikely any further restrictions will apply in the North East. We need a period of stability and consistent rules, so everyone is clear what we all need to do.
— Nick Forbes (@nick_forbes) October 12, 2020
Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street today said he was “very disappointed” at the stricter measures in the region.
He said: “I am urging the Government to review this decision as soon as possible.”
Speaking at a press briefing today, NHS England boss Professor Stephen Powis said Nightingales Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate have been asked to prepare to take patients.
Meanwhile, leaders of Newcastle City Council have said it’s “unlikely” that any further restrictions will apply in the North East.
It is expected to be put into Tier 2.
Residents have already been told not to socialise with other people outside of their own households, with hospitality for food and drink restricted to table service only.
Leisure and entertainment venues were also required to close between 10pm to 5am.
Leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes tweeted: “I’m pleased that, for now, it’s unlikely any further restrictions will apply in the North East.
“We need a period of stability and consistent rules, so everyone is clear what we all need to do.”
News of which tier each county will be on has slowly been trickling out today as Matt Hancock spoketo local leaders.
MP for Birmingham Edgbaston Preet Kaur Gill confirmed the city will be in Tier 2 on the new alert system, following a briefing call with Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
She tweeted: “More than 45 minutes notice for the call would be appreciated next time though Matt!”
Meanwhile Lisa Nandy tweeted: “Just learnt Greater Manchester will be placed into tier 2 restrictions via twitter.
“Apparently there was a government briefing for Greater Manchester MPs but I can’t provide details because I wasn’t invited.
“I suspect this is because they don’t know where Wigan is. What an absolute shambles.”
It comes after deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned there had been a surge in cases reported across the nation.
Prof Van-Tam said infections of the deadly bug were spreading from younger generations to more vulnerable groups.
“There is the spread from those younger age groups into the 60-plus age group in the North West and the North East, and there are rates of change in the same places but also extending a little further south,” he said.
“And this is again of significant concern, because of course the elderly suffer a much worse course with Covid-19, they are admitted to hospital for longer periods, and they are more difficult to save.”
However, the infection numbers have fallen far short of the doomsday predictions made by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, speaking at No10 today[/caption]
Call with the Secretary of State confirms GM will be placed in Tier 2 with household restrictions on meeting indoors in any setting, but not outdoors
Pubs serving food remain open
— Jim McMahon MP (@JimfromOldham) October 12, 2020
Just learnt Greater Manchester will be placed into tier 2 restrictions via twitter. Apparently there was a government briefing for GM MPs but I can’t provide details because I wasn’t invited. I suspect this is because they don’t know where Wigan is. What an absolute shambles
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) October 12, 2020
The scientists estimated there would be 50,000 cases reported a day by mid-October in a bleak warning issued on September 22.
Yesterday, official UK statistics showed 12,872 infections have been recorded in 24 hours.
Today, another 13,972 cases of coronavirus were reported with another 50 fatalities reported.
A senior Tory told Politico: “This is the moment where we enter the next phase.
“It’s going to be really hard to stomach, it’s going to go on for some time, and if people don’t follow the rules then we may have to go further still.
“People in all areas of the country should be under no illusion, we are back to where we were in March, this is going to be sh** and it may get sh**** yet.”
Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool city region, said discussions on the new measures had been going on “all night”.
He told BBC Breakfast he is wants to explain to the two million residents in the city that he has “negotiated on their behalf.
Mr Rotheram said: “But also we wanted some surety from national government that if we hit some of the milestones we can come out of Tier 3 very quickly.”
He said test and trace with “much more local control”, issues around enforcement and “one or two other packages of support” around capacity for local authorities are already “in the bag” but that other details are being worked out.
And Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Cherpeau said businesses across the city are “bewildered, frustrated and angry”.
Dr Jane Eddleston, medical lead in Greater Manchester, urged the public to “respect” the virus due to the “extremely serious” consequences it has for some patients.
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She told the press briefing: “The North West has about 40 per cent of all Covid cases at the moment and this is proving very challenging for us.
“Within Greater Manchester, we have seen a threefold increase in the number of patients admitted to intensive care in the last five weeks and an eightfold increase in the number of patients admitted to our hospitals.
“The situation at the moment is that 30 per cent of our critical care beds are taken up with patients with Covid and this is starting to impact on the services we provide for other patients.”
A breakdown of the number of new cases of Covid-19 across the UK – the most recent few days are lower because not all the data has been gathered[/caption]