UK Prime Minister has announced major new restrictions in England due to significant concerns over a new variant of COVID-19.
London and parts of the South East and East of England which are currently in Tier 3 will move into a new set of restrictions – Tier 4. This new tier will largely represent the measures in place during England’s nationwide lockdown in November.
In Tier 4 areas, non-essential retail outlets, leisure facilities and personal care services must all close. People must stay at home except for a limited number of reasons set out in law and people should work from home wherever possible. The new measures will take effect from Sunday morning.
New guidance and restrictions on travel will also be introduced. People in Tier 4 areas should not leave Tier 4 areas and will not be permitted to travel abroad except for a limited number of reasons, such as for essential business.
People living in Tier 1, 2 & 3 areas are advised to avoid international travel and ‘stay local’.
Major changes have also been announced to the plans for the easing of restrictions over Christmas. In Tier 4 areas, there will be no easing of restrictions and people will not be able to meet with others in indoor settings, except in their existing support bubble. People in these areas will only be allowed to meet with one person from outside their household in an outdoor public place.
In the rest of England, the easing of restrictions over the Christmas period, which had been planned for five days, will now just take place on one day – Christmas Day.
Announcing the new measures, Boris Johnson said ‘We cannot continue with Christmas as planned’. He also emphasised the importance for people to follow the rules on New Year’s Eve and New Years Day.
Mr Johnson said that the new strain of COVID-19 could be up to 70% more transmissible, according to early data.