Health Secretary Matt Hancock appeared in the House of Commons to specify which of the three toughened tiers, ranging from the lowest at Tier 1 to the highest at Tier 3, each local authority in England would face when the current four-week national lockdown ends next Wednesday. But tens of millions of people have been hit hard after being placed into the highest alert level, which is just marginally lighter than a full lockdown. Tier 3 rules state bars, cafes and restaurants must remain shut except for takeaway services, with different households unable to mix except in public places outdoors, where the ‘Rule of Six’ will apply.
People are also advised not to travel outside of the area, unless absolutely necessary.
Areas of the country hit by the top level of restrictions will be offered support from NHS Test and Trace and the armed forced to deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme, utilising lateral flow COVID-19 tests, which give results within an hour.
Mr Hancock said the measures are necessary given the “scale of the threat” faced by the UK.
He told MPs in the Commons: “The majority of England will be in Tier 2, but in a significant number of areas I’m afraid (they) need to be in Tier 3 to bring case rates down.
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“Now, I know how tough this is, both for areas that have been in restrictions for a long time like Leicester and Greater Manchester, and also for areas where cases have risen sharply like Bristol, the West Midlands and Kent.
“I understand the impact that these measures will have, but they are necessary given the scale of the threat that we face.”
The Government revealed the likes of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Hull, Blackpool, Wolverhampton, South Yorkshire and Kent have all been placed into Tier 3.
Several other areas, including Tees Valley, The Humber, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Leicester and Leicestershire have also been hit with the toughest restrictions.
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A number of areas across the North East, including Sunderland, Middleborough, Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool and Darlington have been placed into Tier 3.
This highest alert level also includes Staffordshire and Stone-on-Trent, Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
A level down from this is Tier 2, which states different households will be banned from mixing indoors, with the ‘Rule of Six’ applying in outdoor public areas.
Alcohol can only be served by premises in the hospitality sector as part of a substantial meal.
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London has been placed into Tier 2 in the latest lockdown restrictions system
But in a welcome update announced earlier this week, up to 2,000 people will be allowed to attend outdoor events, and 1,000 indoors.
London and Liverpool are among a number cities to have been placed into Tier 2.
The likes of York and North Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Essex, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea are also in Tier 2.
These areas have been joined by those including East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Surrey, Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead, West Berkshire, Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor, Bath and North East Somerset, Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon, and Devon are also in the medium alert level.
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The Government new three-tier lockdown system explained
Concluding his announcement in the House of Commons, Mr Hancock said: “These are not easy decisions, but they have been made according to the best clinical advice”.
He added: “The less any one person passes on the disease the faster we can get this disease under control together and that is on all of us.
“Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go so we must all dig deep.
“The end is in sight, we mustn’t give up now, we must follow these new rules and make sure that our actions today will save lives in future.”
Matt Hancock detailed which areas of England would be placed into which tiers
But only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been placed into Tier 1 – the lowest alert level of restrictions.
This is because the coronavirus infection rate in these areas is low or has been rapidly falling over recent days and weeks.
Under Tier 1 rules, pubs and restaurants can reopen as they implement table service and an 11pm curfew, while the Rule of Six applies both indoors and outdoors.
People in these areas are allowed to travel but are advised to avoid locations currently in Tier 3.
In another welcome development, up to 4,000 people will be allowed to attend both indoor and outdoor events in these areas.
What do you think about your tier? Let us know in the comment section below.
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