UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new tier of England’s Coronavirus restrictions called Tier 4.
The new tier and its restrictions come amid concerns over a new variant of COVID-19 that has been identified. Speaking on Saturday from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said;
“NERVTAG’s (advisory group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats) early analysis suggests the new variant could increase R by 0.4 or greater. Although there is considerable uncertainty, it may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant.
“This is early data. It is subject to review. It is the best we have at the moment, and we have to act on information as we have it because this is now spreading very fast.”
Here’s a look at the new restrictions, which areas they will exist in and what they mean for the festive period.
The tier allocations are to be reviewed regularly, with the next review set to take place on 30 December.
Which areas will face the new Tier 4 restrictions?
The new Tier 4 restrictions are to come into effect in the following areas just after midnight on Sunday 20 December 2020;
- All of London
- Surrey – excluding Waverley
- Rother & Hastings
- Central Bedfordshire
- Milton Keynes
- Essex – excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring
What are the Tier 4 restrictions?
The new Tier 4 restrictions were compared by Boris Johnson to the November lockdown that took place nationwide in England. The restrictions are generally the same, though communal worship can continue to take place.
People in Tier 4 areas must stay at home except for specific reasons including;
- Work, but only if you cannot work from home
- Medical reasons
- To escape injury or harm
- To shop for food and/or essentials
- To provide care for vulnerable people or to volunteer (existing support bubbles remain effective)
Funerals will still be allowed but with close family members present only. Courts and vets are to remain open and people should continue to use the NHS and attend booked appointments unless advised otherwise.
Individuals can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space – no indoor inter-household mixing can take place.
Tier 4 residents must not stay overnight away from home and people should not enter or leave Tier 4 areas apart from for a limited number of exceptions. International travel will also be banned in most cases for people in Tier 4 areas.
What do the Tier 4 rules mean for Christmas?
There will be no easing of restrictions for Tier 4 areas over the Christmas period. No inter-household mixing is allowed in indoor settings. Individuals can though meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space.