By Rachael Grealish
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced a three-tier COVID restrictions plan for England.
Speaking today, Monday October 12, from the House of Commons, the PM updated MPs on the current fight against Coronavirus.
He explained the cases have quadrupled in the last three weeks and more people are hospitalised than when the UK went into lockdown in Spring.
The PM said he has been recommended to go back into a full lockdown, but does not feel this is the right course, nor does he think the virus should be allowed to ‘run its course’ in the country.
However, he said: “We must act to save lives.”
The three-tier system will therefore be introduced to simplify the local COVID-19 restrictions.
The tier system will be labelled as ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘ very high’ risk with different restrictions for each level.
- The medium level will cover a significant part of England and includes the current national restrictions such as the “rule of six” and the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants.
- The high level will see people prevented from socialising with other households indoors. Most of those areas already living under local restrictions – such as Greater Manchester and Birmingham – will move into this category. And the ‘rule of six’ will apply outdoors too.
- The very high alert level will see people banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, while bars and pubs will be closed unless they can operate as restaurants.
- Residents will also be advised against travelling in and out of these areas, while it will be up local politicians as to whether other leisure venues such as gyms and casinos should also close. However, non-essential shops, schools and universities will remain open.
Merseyside is expected to be among the areas put into the highest tier.
The PM has asked local authorities to work with the government with the new restrictions as he feels ‘not to act would be unforgivable’.
In his final message to the country, Mr Johnson said: “The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country.”
But he added: “I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed.”
The three-tier system will be debated and voted on, with the view of being implemented from Wednesday October 14 2020.
Members of the public will be able to check their tier on the Government’s postcode checker and wary area will be given a tier by the end of today.
Sir Kier Starmer, leader of the opposition, has responded to the PM’s announcement saying he is ‘sceptical’ the government is actually has a plan to get the virus under control.
Starmer said he will consider the new package of measures, look at the small print and discuss with local leaders.
However said: “But I have to say I’m now deeply sceptical.”