Lockdown: Expert says tier restrictions may need 'tightening'
More than two-thirds of England’s population will be living under Tier 3 restrictions from Saturday amid rising concern about the spread of coronavirus in the run-up to Christmas. Health Secretary Matt Hancock placed large parts of southern and eastern England into the top tier and dashed hopes in northern regions of an easing of restrictions. But Infectious Disease Modelling Expert, Professor John Edmunds, insisted the current restrictions are “not enough”.
Speaking to Sky News, Professor Edmunds said: “I think there has been intent to put areas in a higher level and then reduce if that’s deemed safe to do so, I think that’s the better way to do it.
“At the moment it does not look like the tier system is holding the epidemic wave back, unfortunately.
“I think we are going to have to look at these measures and perhaps tighten them up.
“It’s a horrible thing to have to say but we are in quite a difficult position.”
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Under Tier 3 conditions pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaway or delivery services and indoor entertainment venues are shut.
Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Surrey (with the exception of Waverley), Hastings and Rother (on the Kent border of East Sussex), and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire will all move into Tier 3.
The changes mean a total of 38 million people will be living in Tier 3 from Saturday – 68 percent of the population of England.
The little good news came for Bristol and North Somerset, which will move from Tier 3 to Tier 2.
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Herefordshire will go down into Tier 1, although the county’s public health director raised concerns about the relaxation of measures there.
The announcements added to unease on the Tory benches about the Government’s response to the pandemic.
Tory MP Stephen McPartland said it was “ridiculous” and “totally unacceptable” that his Stevenage seat was “being dragged into Tier 3”.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers and a Greater Manchester MP, questioned what more the region could do to get out of Tier 3.
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“The statement will be greeted with dismay in Greater Manchester where we have had severe restrictions for nine months – where in nine of the 10 boroughs rates are below the national average,” he said.
Former minister Steve Baker, the deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Conservatives, said: “After a full and damaging national lockdown, millions more people and businesses across the country are heading into tougher restrictions.
“The Government must urgently clarify what the criteria are for moving areas between, and especially down, the tiers.”
The latest areas to join Tier 3 come after London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex were placed under the top level of restrictions earlier this week.
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