MILLIONS more people will be plunged into Tier 4 from tonight, December 31, Matt Hancock has announced today.
The Health Secretary said he was forced to take action as a result of the rapidly-spreading mutant variant of the virus, which saw a record 53,000 infections recorded yesterday.
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Areas changing Tiers
To move into Tier 4:
- Leicester City
- Leicestershire (Oadby and Wigston, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Blaby, Charnwood, North West Leicestershire, Melton)
- Lincolnshire (City of Lincoln, Boston, South Kesteven, West Lindsey, North Kesteven, South Holland, East Lindsey)
- Northamptonshire (Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire, Wellingborough)
- Derby and Derbyshire (Derby, Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Erewash, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak)
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (Gedling, Ashfield, Mansfield, Rushcliffe, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, Broxtowe)
- Birmingham and Black Country (Dudley, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton)
- Warwickshire (Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwick, North Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon)
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (East Staffordshire, Stafford, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent)
- Lancashire (Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Blackpool, Preston, Hyndburn, Chorley, Fylde, Lancaster, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
- Cheshire and Warrington (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington)
- Cumbria (Eden, Carlisle, South Lakeland, Barrow-in-Furness, Copeland, Allerdale)
- Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
- Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees )
- North East (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland)
- Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham)
- Somerset Council (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset)
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
- Isle of Wight
- New Forest
The following local authority areas will move to Tier 3:
- Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
- Worcestershire (Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon, Wyre Forest)
- Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens)
- York & North Yorkshire (Scarborough, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Selby, Craven, Ryedale, Harrogate, City of York)
- Bath and North East Somerset
- Devon, Plymouth, Torbay (East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, West Devon, Plymouth, Torbay)
Shops, indoor activities, gyms and hairdressers will be shut in all the areas to stop the Covid spread – but schools are expected to remain open for now.
And the Health secretary has said he would not be introducing a Tier 5 today – though didn't rule one out in future.
The Health Secretary told MPs today all of the North East of England, the South West and most of the Midlands would be thrown into Tier 4.
All of the North-east of England, including Cumbria, Cheshire, Warrington, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool, and Blackburn with Darwen will be thrown into Tier 4.
Most of the West Midlands and all of the East Midlands, except Rutland will be put into Tier 4.
And large parts of the South West will also be plunged into the toughest measures.
Today's announcement means that all of England is living under Tier 3 or Tier 4 lockdown – apart from 2,000 people living on the Isles of Scilly.
Mr Hancock told MPs most new cases are from the new variant, which is as much as 56 per cent more contagious.
He said: "Yesterday alone, 52, 135 new cases were registered, the majority of which are believed to be the new variant.
"Unfortunately this new variant is spreading across most of England."
The Health Secretary warned "case rates are doubling fast" and there are "significant" challenges to the NHS.
It came as:
- The Oxford University/AstraZenca vaccine was approved by regulators today – with a million doses a week to be rolled out from next week
- And a change in strategy is expected to take place so people can get the vaccine sooner – with ministers to prioritise the first jab and give the second within 12 weeks
- More than 53,000 cases of the virus were reported yesterday
- A major incident was declared in Essex over Covid as hospitals struggle to cope with demand
- School pupils in some years are likely to be delayed to returning to the classroom thanks to the spike in cases
Mr Hancock also vowed that the Government would followed a tiered system and avoid a third national lockdown as far as possible.
"Where it is possible to keep some of the freedoms we all cherish, we should," he told the House of Commons.
When pushed if he would introduce a level above the highest Tier 4 restrictions, he insisted: "I'm not announcing anything above Tier 4 today, no."
Nationally, Essex is the worst-affected region of England.
All the areas already in Tier 4
A list of the areas in Tier 4 at present are:
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
- All 32 London boroughs and the city of London.
- Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough
- Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).
A full list of the areas that joined Tier 4 on Boxing Day are:
- Those parts of Essex not yet in Tier 4
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