Northern Ireland has refused to deny the lockdown on a new road after joining Wales in a plan to shut down after Christmas.
Families in Northern Ireland are now facing a six-week lockdown to curb the expected impetus for Covid’s case after Christmas – and Wales has promised to keep the whole country off for three weeks even after the holiday.
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The prime minister’s official spokesman declined to say whether English was considering something similar – although Boris Johnson and other ministers warned it could be on the card.
He said in a briefing to reporters during the luncheon: “We have clarified the rationale behind the tiered territorial approach and we have determined it for the time being.
“It is designed to reduce the rate of infection and further reduce the rate in high-prone areas.
“As we have said throughout, we will obviously keep the latest data and the latest trends under review.”
However, while No. 10 regularly refuses to impose further restrictions, all measures to prevent infection and protect the nation must be on the table.
Here it comes:
The prime minister warned last night that Christmas could lead to a nationwide outbreak.
And Chris Whitty admits that more people could probably catch the bug which could lead to hospitalization and death.
Boris, however, said it would be “inhumane” to cancel Christmas altogether – and instead called for a smaller, shorter assembly.
Today, Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann said he would make a number of “strong and extreme” recommendations at an executive meeting today.
This means that the strict lockdown system will stop retail, hospitality and leisure for six weeks.
This would mark the third lockdown that Northern Ireland had to occupy.
Sturmont sources told PA that the proposals would be equivalent to a full-scale lockdown in March rather than the recent circuit break limitation.
Despite circuit breaks in the last two weeks, the number of cases in Northern Ireland continues to rise.
Prime Minister Arlene Foster left the country in a four-week lockout in October, just to extend it by two more weeks in November.
Wales is also grappling with the post-Christmas lockdown, with the first prime minister, Mark Dreckford, making a U-turn during the festive season – which means only two families can meet on holiday, not three.
For at least three weeks, all non-essential retail, beauty salons, leisure centers will be closed at the end of the day before Christmas.
And Christmas, restaurants, pubs and cafes must be closed on Christmas Eve from.
Nicola Sturgeon has refused to cancel further lockdown measures in Scotland, but stressed yesterday that the situation in Wales is more serious.
Messrs. Sturgeon also gave Scots a sad Christmas message, asking them to visit their loved ones for just one day on their holiday – and advising them to stay completely separate if possible.
Fear of tires
The health secretary said multiple areas, including Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Peterborough and Surrey, would enter the top tier of restrictions earlier today.
Schools, shops and gyms may be open in the upper tier, but restaurants, pubs and furnishing activities must be closed under strict restrictions.
Today’s changes move nearly five million more people to Tier 3 at 11.01am on Saturday – all but one of them face a lockdown.
About 38 million people will be at the highest level of the lockdown rule, more than two-thirds of the total population.
678,420 lucky people will get extra freedom as they go down a level.
Mr Hancock gave the nation a sad update a week before Christmas – with the announcement of the change.
He warned: “Everyone has a personal responsibility to play their part.
“We’ve come this far – we shouldn’t be blown away right now.”
In the south-east of England, the number of cases has risen by 46 per cent in the last week alone.
He added: “Where we have seen the virus under control and out of Tier 3, everyone is responsible for it.
“We’ve seen case rates drop in large parts of England, I know rates have dropped in many places in Tier 3.
“But in most places we weren’t there yet.
Tears are changing all over the place
Complete list of places from tier 2 to 3 Full
- Central Bedfordshire
- Milton Keynes
- Berkshire (all local authorities currently in Tier 2: Reading, Oakingham, Bracknell Forest, Windsor and Mainhead and West Berkshire)
- Hastings and Rother
- Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth
- Hertfordshire (all local authorities are still in Tier 2)
- Surrey (except Waverly)
The regions are descending one level below:
Bristol and North Somerset come from Tier 3 to Tier 2
Herefordshire comes out of Tier 2 to Tier 1
Total people at each level In England:
Level 1 – 906,000 people – 2% of the population
Level 2 – 17 million people – 30%
Level 3 – 38 million people – 68%
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Tired we have to go again
A few million more are immersed in Tier 3 – but Bristol and North Somerset come out