Tier 4 restrictions will need continue 'until Easter' says expert
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the introduction of Tier 4 in response to rising rates of infection attributed to the new Covid variant. Under the new rules, people should not be entering or leaving Tier 4 areas, while residents must not stay overnight away from home. Where people cannot work from home they are still permitted to use public transport where necessary. Tier 4 restrictions are very similar to a full scale lockdown, as non-essential retail, indoor leisure, indoor entertainment and all personal care sectors such as hairdressers, have been forced to close their doors again.
The new variant of coronavirus is understood to be responsible for the new Tier 4 restrictions, accounting for more than 95 percent of all new cases.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats advisory group (NervTag), told a Science Media Centre briefing on the new variant of coronavirus that cases outside of Tier 4 “are increasing at similar rates” of affected areas.
He added: “It’s just that the virus is a lower proportion of all cases and therefore it’s less visible in the overall case numbers as yet.”
The following areas are currently under Tier 4 restrictions:
- All 32 London boroughs plus the City of London
- Kent and Medway
- Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead and West Berkshire)
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- Hastings and Rother
- Havant, Gosport and Portsmouth
- Essex (excluding Tendring, Uttlesford and Colchester)
- Central Bedfordshire, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton
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And Wales has also gone into full lockdown amid rising cases.
But with Boris Johnson due to make an announcement this evening, there are fears more areas could be plunged under the tough rules.
Tier 4 is a “stay at home” order, which means you cannot leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse.
This includes work and volunteering, essential activities such as food shopping, education, childcare or for exercise.
The guidance states: “You cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble.
“Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.”
The latest Gov.UK coronavirus cases data shows the areas currently under the new lockdown are leading the way with the infection rate.
In Wales, Merthyr Tydfil has an infection rate of 1,225 per 100,000 population. Bridgend’s rate is 1,118 while Newport’s is 878.
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Medway in Kent’s rate is 931.9 per 100,000, compared to 925.4 in Havering and 793.5 in Redbridge.
Elsewhere in England, East Sussex’s rate is 353.4, while Peterborough – also Tier 4 – is reporting a rate of 349.1.
But the data also shows five other upper-tier local authority areas reporting numbers of a similar level.
Stoke on Trent – 351.4
South Tyneside – 309.3
Wolverhampton – 291.2
Mid and East Antrim – 289.4
Leicester – 286.
While these rates seem rather low compared to the highest levels of more than 1,000 per 100,000 population, they fall between other areas that are in Tier 4.
For example, Surrey’s rate is 285.5, while Buckinghamshire is recording an infection level of 284.9.
Portsmouth too, has a lower rate, at 280.1 – but all three are under Tier 4 rules.
This is followed by Kensington and Chelsea at 269.6, Camden at 262.9 and Westminster at 259.1.
There is no indication as yet about which areas could fall under any extend Tier 4 area, however.
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