Covid-19 tiers: Almost all of England facing tough virus rules

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Most of England will be in the two toughest levels of measures when the national lockdown ends next week.

The new coronavirus tier restrictions will mean 55 million people remain banned from mixing with other households indoors from 2 December.

Large parts of the Midlands, North East and North West, including Manchester, as well as Kent, are in tier three.

A majority of places are in the second highest level – tier two – including London, and Liverpool city region.

The Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – where there have been no recorded cases in the past week – will be the only areas of England in the lowest level of curbs – tier one.

The system will be regularly reviewed, with the first scheduled for 16 December, so an area’s tier level may change before Christmas.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now leading a Downing Street press conference, joined by England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out the reasoning behind the tier decisions for each area in a written ministerial statement.

He told the Commons: “Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go. So we must all dig deep.”

Mr Hancock added that people “should see these restrictions not as a boundary to push but as a limit on what the public health advice says we can safely do in any area.”

Around 23 million people across 21 local authority areas will be in the highest level – tier three – including Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Tees Valley Combined Authority and North East Combined Authority.

Lancashire, Leicester, Lincolnshire, Slough, Bristol, Kent and Medway will also be in tier three.

Earlier, a rush for details of the tier allocations saw the government website repeatedly crash.

On Thursday, another 498 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported in the UK, and a further 17,555 positive cases, the latest figures showed.

Map showing the new three tier system in England before and after lockdown

bbc

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