Tier 4 plans rejected because new beefed up rules will be enough to control coronavirus spread, confirms Matt Hancock
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]
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.
Speaking ahead of Boris Johnson’s statement this afternoon where he will lay out plans for beefed up local measures, Mr Hancock promised the lockdown will end next Thursday.
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.”
It comes as:
- Families in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be allowed to meet for Christmas
- The Oxford vaccine is ‘up to 90 per cent’ effective – and the UK has 100million doses ordered
- Boris Johnson will announce fresh Tiers this afternoon
- Even people grabbing a drink outdoors must order a “substantial meal” in Tier 2
- All shops will be allowed to open for a Christmas shopping bonanza
- Pfizer vaccine could be approved in as little as a week for use in the UK
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.
Most areas of the country are expected to be in Tier 2 or Tier 3[/caption]
Mass testing will be rolled out in Tier 3 areas to push cases down[/caption]
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.
And in Tier 1, the “Rule of Six” is set to be suspended to allow bigger groups to celebrate.
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.
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.
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.
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