More areas of England to enter Tier 4 measures on Boxing Day
More areas of England are set to enter Tier 4 lockdown measures, which force the closure of non-essential retail and close-contact personal care services, from Boxing Day.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed that all of Essex and Surrey, Norfolk, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Hampshire (with the exception of New Forest) will all enter Tier 4 on 26 December.
Those areas already in Tier 4 include London, most of Surrey and Essex, Kent and Hertfordshire, the boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton and Peterborough.
In addition several other areas will move up the Tier structure. Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Warrington will go into Tier 3, while Cornwall and Herefordshire will go into Tier 2.
Non-essential retail and close-contact personal care services can continue to operate in Tiers 1-3.
The Health Secretary said that the previous tiering system had not been enough to contain a new variant of the virus which are far more transmissible, though not necessarily more dangerous.
“We know that the three-tiered system worked to control the old variant and is working now in large parts of the country especially in northern England.
“But we also know that Tier 3 is not enough to control the new variant. This is not our hypothesis, it is a fact and we have seen it on the ground.
“We’ve seen case rates rise in some of the places close to where the current Tier 4 restrictions are in places like East Anglia where we are seeing a significant number of the new variant and we’ve seen case rates rise sharply.
“It is therefore necessary to put more of the East and South East of England into Tier 4.
“We’re also taking action in parts of the South West where there are some early signs of the new variant and where cases are rising," Hancock said.
Reports from earlier today said that local leaders and health officials met on Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of Birmingham being moved into a Tier 4 lockdown, but so far the city appears not to have been added to the list.