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HomePoliticsTier 3 lockdown restrictions will be enough to control coronavirus spread as Tier 4 ditched, Matt Hancock confirms

Tier 3 lockdown restrictions will be enough to control coronavirus spread as Tier 4 ditched, Matt Hancock confirms

Tier 3 lockdown restrictions will be enough to control coronavirus spread as Tier 4 ditched, Matt Hancock confirms

TIER 4 plans have been abandoned by ministers because new beefed up local lockdowns will be enough to control spiralling Covid cases, Matt Hancock confirmed today.

The Health Secretary warned the fresh rules will be “lighter” than the national shutdown – but tougher than the system in place before.

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New beefed up coronavirus tiered lockdowns will be announced today[/caption]

London News Pictures

Matt Hancock promised there would be no Tier 4 lockdown[/caption]

Areas with the worst infection rates won’t be forced into a draconian Tier 4 – like in Scotland – which pushed areas into measures akin to full lockdown.

Boris Johnson will give a statement this afternoon where he will lay out plans for beefed up local measure.

Mr Hancock promised the lockdown will end next Thursday and be replaced with a fresh system.

Mr Hancock told the BBC: “The number of cases is now starting to fall across the whole of England, so we do think we can replace the lockdown with a tiered system.

“But the tiered system, whilst lighter than lockdown, will have to be stronger than previous tiers that were in place.”

Crucially the highest level of lockdown – Tier 3 – will have to have even tougher rules in place to push case numbers down.

Mr Hancock stressed that the previous shutdowns, which put huge swathes of the North of England were in “very high” Covid alert level, were not enough.

“We saw that the previous Tier 3 rules could essentially get cases flat not bring them down.”

This afternoon there were unconfirmed reports that London will stay in Tier 2 rather than be bumped up to the toughest measures.

Ministers aren’t set to decide which areas will go into the new rules until later this week.

It comes as:

But in a blow to hospitality businesses, pubs and restaurants will only be able to operate a click and collect service – with no seating inside in the toughest rules.

LEVELLED UP TIERS

Most of the country is expected to return to the most stringent Tier 3 or high risk Tier 2.

Areas living under Tier 2 will have to follow rules that were previously in place in the highest Covid level – meaning pubs will only be able to serve booze alongside a “substantial meal”.

And punters will only be able to dine indoors with people they live with.

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Most areas of the country are expected to be in Tier 2 or Tier 3[/caption]

PA:Press Association

Mass testing will be rolled out in Tier 3 areas to push cases down[/caption]

London News Pictures

Tier 3 rules will be even tougher than before[/caption]

The hated 10pm curfew will finally be ditched by ministers and replaced with demands to take last orders – and a final closing time of 11pm, giving Brits a chance to finish their drinks before being forced onto the street.

Mr Johnson summoned his Cabinet for a rare Sunday meeting last night to sign off new, toughened measures for England.

In a huge boost for retailers, all shops will be allowed to open in the crucial run-up to Christmas — regardless of their local lockdown measures.

The Sun has learnt that gyms will also be able to open across the country.

The tiers each area will be placed in will be announced on Thursday.

CHRISTMAS JOY

The tougher new tiers comes with a slice of good news for families, after the four nations signed off a plan to let people across the UK gather for Christmas.

It is understood up to three households will be able to come together for a turkey dinner indoors, subject to final agreement with the devolved nations.

There are also hopes that these “festive bubbles” will be able to go out for Christmas meals together — as long as they do not mingle with other households.

The ban on household mixing in Tiers 2 and 3 will likely be lifted for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through to the delayed Boxing Day Bank Holiday on December 28.

And in Tier 1, the “Rule of Six” is set to be suspended to allow bigger groups to celebrate.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today it was “likely” household bubbles would be able to join – but said bringing four households together was not discussed.

She said there is an “obvious desire” to reunite over Christmas but stressed it needed to be done “safely” to minimise risks.

TEST THEM ALL

Mr Johnson is due to tell MPs the increase in new Covid cases in England is “flattening off” after the nationwide lockdown measures.

But he will warn: “We are not out of the woods yet.”

Mr Hancock said this morning that Tier 3 combined with mass testing in Liverpool meant new coronavirus cases started to fall “quite remarkably”.

Areas placed into the toughest Tier will be armed with mass testing capabilities with 15-minute rapid-result coronavirus tests, Mr Hancock said this morning.

PA:Press Association

Results from the Oxford/ AstraZenaca vaccine show “up to 90%” effectiveness[/caption]

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Brits’ lives could start to get back to normal around Easter with a jab[/caption]

EASTER BREAK

Mr Hancock also talked up the possibility of Brits’ lives starting to get back to normal by Easter after the Oxford AstraZenaca vaccine announced it had “up to 90 per cent” effectiveness.

He said: “It is subject to that regulatory approval and I really stress that because the medicines regulator, it’s called the MHRA, is independent, they’re rigorous, they’re one of the best regulators in the world.

“They will be very, very careful to ensure that they look at all the data to make sure that this is safe.

“Subject to that approval, we hope to be able to start vaccinating next month.”

Most jabs will start being rolled out in January to March, he said.

“And we hope that sometime after Easter things will be able to start to get back to normal.”

 

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