Will Tier 2 and 3 area rules be reviewed before Christmas?
ALMOST all of England has been thrown into the toughest Tier 2 and 3 restrictions, Matt Hancock announced today.
But all coronavirus Tier levels will be reviewed on December 16 – sparking hopes pubs and restaurants in highest Covid alert level could reopen by Christmas.
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There are hopes areas could be put into lower Tiers by Christmas[/caption]
Matt Hancock said the new measures would be reviewed every two weeks[/caption]
The Health Secretary acknowledged the tough rule millions of Brits are going to be forced to live under.
But he stressed this was essential to bring coronavirus cases under control.
More than 55 million people across England are in the top two Tiers.
He said: “The regulations will require the government to review the allocations every 14 days, with the first review complete by the end of 16 December.”
But Mr Hancock added that he would review the Tiers weekly after December 16 – giving areas two chances to escape the highest Tier levels.
“We will review these in a fortnight, and then regularly, by which he can reasonably take weekly,” he told MPs.
“And we will have a weekly cycle of meetings with the CMO chairing a meeting typically on a Tuesday, I then chair the meeting on a Wednesday for an announcement on Thursday for any change to the tiers.”
The only three areas placed in the lowest Tier 1 restrictions are Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly.
That means just under 99 per cent of England will be living under harsh local rules from next Wednesday, when the local lockdown has ended.
The most crucial test for whether an area will be allowed to move to a lower Tier is the capacity of local NHS services.
If hospitals are under increasing pressure it is likely they will stay in their current Tier – or risk being pushed into an even higher Covid alert level.
London, Liverpool and most of the South West and South East are in Tier 2.
But Manchester, Birmingham, Nottinghamshire, Leicester and Bristol are all in Tier 3, along with swathes of the North East and North West.
Liverpool previously had one of the worst coronavirus infection rates in the country, but managed to escape being put under the most drastic restrictions thanks to the mass testing pilot in the city.
And Mr Hancock said he hopes similar programs would be able to be rolled out across all Tier 3 areas.
Areas in Tier 2 and Tier 3
Tier 2: High alert
- Liverpool City Region
- Warrington and Cheshire
- North Yorkshire
- Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
East of England
- Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
- Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
- Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
- all 32 boroughs plus the City of London
- East Sussex
- West Sussex
- Brighton and Hove
- Bracknell Forest
- Windsor and Maidenhead
- West Berkshire
- Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton
- South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
- Bath and North East Somerset
- Wiltshire and Swindon
Tier 3: Very High alert
- Tees Valley Combined Authority:
- Redcar and Cleveland
- North East Combined Authority:
- South Tyneside
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- North Tyneside
- County Durham
- Greater Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
Yorkshire and The Humber
- The Humber
- West Yorkshire
- South Yorkshire
- Birmingham and Black Country
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
- Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull
- Derby and Derbyshire
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- Leicester and Leicestershire
- Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)
- Kent and Medway
- South Gloucestershire
- North Somerset
If coronavirus cases in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas begin to fall fast enough – and crucially in the most at-risk over 65s, areas could be moved into lower levels.
Mr Hancock gave areas a sliver of hope that they would be able to make it to Tier 1 – but warned only areas with the very lowest infection rates could be moved down.
And he said there was no “automatic” number at which areas would be moved up or down different Tiers.
He said: “Now I hope that… so many other parts of the country can get to tier one soon, and the more people stick to the rules, the quicker, that will happen.”
He warned even his own constituency of West Suffolk, which has the lowest case rate for over 60s in the whole country, was placed into Tier 2.
Even if areas are not able to move down into lower Tiers, there will be respite for all Brits over Christmas.
Boris Johnson announced earlier this week a UK-wide approach to Christmas, which would let people form “festive bubbles” of three households from December 23 to December 27.
People will not be allowed to meet up in pubs or restaurants – but will be allowed to reunite for meals in homes, go to church or meet up outdoors.
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