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Covid-19 tiers: Almost all of England facing tough virus rules Covid-19 tiers: Almost all of England facing tough virus rules
(32 minutes later)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock sets out England's new coronavirus tier systemHealth Secretary Matt Hancock sets out England's new coronavirus tier system
Most of England will be in the two toughest levels of measures when the national lockdown ends on 2 December. Most of England will be in the two toughest levels of measures when the national lockdown ends next week.
The new coronavirus tier restrictions will mean 55 million people remain banned from mixing with other households indoors. The new coronavirus tier restrictions will mean 55 million people remain banned from mixing with other households indoors from 2 December.
Large parts of the Midlands, North East and North West, including Manchester, as well as Kent, are in tier three.Large parts of the Midlands, North East and North West, including Manchester, as well as Kent, are in tier three.
A majority of places are in the second highest level - tier two - including London, and Liverpool city region.A majority of places are in the second highest level - tier two - including London, and Liverpool city region.
The Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly - where there have been no recorded cases in the past week - will be the only areas of England in the lowest level of curbs - tier one.The Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly - where there have been no recorded cases in the past week - will be the only areas of England in the lowest level of curbs - tier one.
Meanwhile, a rush for details saw the government website repeatedly crash.Meanwhile, a rush for details saw the government website repeatedly crash.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out the reasoning behind the tier decisions for each area in a written ministerial statement.Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out the reasoning behind the tier decisions for each area in a written ministerial statement.
What are the new rules?What are the new rules?
Check the new tier for your areaCheck the new tier for your area
Live updates as England's new tier arrangements confirmedLive updates as England's new tier arrangements confirmed
Mr Hancock told the Commons: "Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go. So we must all dig deep."Mr Hancock told the Commons: "Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go. So we must all dig deep."
"We should see these restrictions not as a boundary to push but as a limit on what the public health advice says we can safely do in any area," he added."We should see these restrictions not as a boundary to push but as a limit on what the public health advice says we can safely do in any area," he added.
Around 23 million people across 21 local authority areas will be in the highest level - tier three - including Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Tees Valley Combined Authority and North East Combined Authority.Around 23 million people across 21 local authority areas will be in the highest level - tier three - including Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Tees Valley Combined Authority and North East Combined Authority.
Lancashire, Leicester, Lincolnshire, Slough, Bristol, Kent and Medway will also be in tier three.Lancashire, Leicester, Lincolnshire, Slough, Bristol, Kent and Medway will also be in tier three.
Differences between the new tiers include restrictions on where households can meet up:Differences between the new tiers include restrictions on where households can meet up:
tier one: the rule of six applies everywhere, indoors and outtier one: the rule of six applies everywhere, indoors and out
tier two: the rule of six applies outdoors but there is no household mixing anywhere indoorstier two: the rule of six applies outdoors but there is no household mixing anywhere indoors
tier three: can only meet other households in outdoor public spaces like parks, where the rule of six appliestier three: can only meet other households in outdoor public spaces like parks, where the rule of six applies
Gyms and close-contact beauty services like hairdressers will be able to open in all tiers. Guidance said people in all tiers who can work from home, should continue to do so.Gyms and close-contact beauty services like hairdressers will be able to open in all tiers. Guidance said people in all tiers who can work from home, should continue to do so.
Pubs and restaurants in tier two can only open to serve "substantial meals", while those in tier three can only operate as a takeaway or delivery service. Pubs in tier two can only open to serve "substantial meals", while those in tier three can only operate as a takeaway or delivery service.
Hospitality bosses said nearly nine in 10 venues believed they "are not viable to operate" within tiers two and three.Hospitality bosses said nearly nine in 10 venues believed they "are not viable to operate" within tiers two and three.
Starting off highStarting off high
Make no mistake, this is only a gradual step out of lockdown.Make no mistake, this is only a gradual step out of lockdown.
At the start of November more than half the country was in tier one, meaning households could mix indoors in people's homes and in pubs and restaurants as long as they kept to the rule of six.At the start of November more than half the country was in tier one, meaning households could mix indoors in people's homes and in pubs and restaurants as long as they kept to the rule of six.
Now that is only possible in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly.Now that is only possible in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly.
Infection rates are showing early signs of coming down, but the government is erring on the side of caution.Infection rates are showing early signs of coming down, but the government is erring on the side of caution.
Research suggests they were too slow to put areas in higher tiers before lockdown.Research suggests they were too slow to put areas in higher tiers before lockdown.
They do not want to make that mistake again - and so are starting off high in the hope they can move areas down the tiers.They do not want to make that mistake again - and so are starting off high in the hope they can move areas down the tiers.
But it is not only about which area is in which tier.But it is not only about which area is in which tier.
The top two tiers have been beefed up, particularly in regards to hospitality.The top two tiers have been beefed up, particularly in regards to hospitality.
One ray of hope, the government says, is the experience of Liverpool.One ray of hope, the government says, is the experience of Liverpool.
Before lockdown it was in tier three and seeing among the highest infection rates in the country.Before lockdown it was in tier three and seeing among the highest infection rates in the country.
Today it has now been put in tier two with infection levels pretty close to the national average.Today it has now been put in tier two with infection levels pretty close to the national average.
BBC analysis showed 32.2 million people live in the new tier two areas, 23.3 million in tier three and just 713,573 in tier one. BBC analysis showed 713,573 live in the new tier one areas, 32.2 million people live in tier two areas, and 23.3 million in tier three.
This is compared to 23.5 million in tier one pre-lockdown, 24 million in tier two, and 8.7 million in tier three.
The system will be regularly reviewed and an area's tier level may change before Christmas - the first review is scheduled for 16 December.The system will be regularly reviewed and an area's tier level may change before Christmas - the first review is scheduled for 16 December.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead a Downing Street news conference at 17:00 GMT, and will be joined by England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead a Downing Street news conference at 17:00 GMT, and will be joined by England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
Laura Foster explains the new three tier system for England.Laura Foster explains the new three tier system for England.
The new tier restrictions will be voted on by MPs, with the government already facing opposition from its own backbenchers. The new tier restrictions will be voted on by MPs next week, with the government already facing opposition from its own backbenchers.
Leading Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady told BBC Radio 4's World at One he would vote against the measures, saying: "I do think that the policies have been far too authoritarian."Leading Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady told BBC Radio 4's World at One he would vote against the measures, saying: "I do think that the policies have been far too authoritarian."
And former Brexit minister Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the recently-formed Covid Recovery Group (CRG), called for the government to publish analysis - ahead of the vote - of the impact restrictions were likely to have on controlling Covid, as well as the non-Covid health impact and the effect on "society, people's livelihoods and businesses".
He said he was "open" to supporting measures "where it can clearly be demonstrated that the government intervention will save more lives than it costs".
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Decisions on tiers are based on public health recommendations informed by a series of public health data, including Covid-19 cases among the over-60s, positivity rates, pressure on the NHS and how quickly cases are rising or falling.Decisions on tiers are based on public health recommendations informed by a series of public health data, including Covid-19 cases among the over-60s, positivity rates, pressure on the NHS and how quickly cases are rising or falling.
Areas placed in tier three will be eligible for rapid or "lateral flow" tests - which give results in about 20 minutes without the need for a lab - to help bring down infections and reduce restrictions.Areas placed in tier three will be eligible for rapid or "lateral flow" tests - which give results in about 20 minutes without the need for a lab - to help bring down infections and reduce restrictions.
And they will be offered support by NHS Test and Trace and the armed forces to deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme.And they will be offered support by NHS Test and Trace and the armed forces to deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme.
Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the power to set their own coronavirus regulations, though all four UK nations have agreed a joint plan for Christmas.Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the power to set their own coronavirus regulations, though all four UK nations have agreed a joint plan for Christmas.
The new tiers will replace England's current second national lockdown after 2 DecemberThe new tiers will replace England's current second national lockdown after 2 December
In tier three Lancashire, chair of the council's resilience forum, Angie Ridgwell, said there was "disappointment" but also clarity over what needed to happen to lower infection rates. Politicians in Lancashire have expressed anger that the whole county has been placed into the highest tier of restrictions, after council leaders asked for it to be split into different tiers to reflect varying rates.
Leicester MPs and businesses said the city's tier three restrictions were "extremely difficult to hear" following 150 days of lockdown.Leicester MPs and businesses said the city's tier three restrictions were "extremely difficult to hear" following 150 days of lockdown.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the city region's move from tier three to tier two was a "great result" and thanked residents for their efforts to drive down the virus alongside a trial of mass testing.Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the city region's move from tier three to tier two was a "great result" and thanked residents for their efforts to drive down the virus alongside a trial of mass testing.
"We embraced tier three restrictions and worked fast to deliver the testing pilot, bringing in the Army to help us deliver an efficient service," he said."We embraced tier three restrictions and worked fast to deliver the testing pilot, bringing in the Army to help us deliver an efficient service," he said.
Mr Hancock said Covid-19 cases in Liverpool had fallen 69% in six weeks and the city showed that "the more people get tested, the quicker an area can move down through the tiers".Mr Hancock said Covid-19 cases in Liverpool had fallen 69% in six weeks and the city showed that "the more people get tested, the quicker an area can move down through the tiers".
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the decision to place the capital in the second-highest level - tier two - was the result of people's "monumental sacrifice" and would be a "welcome boost" for businesses.Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the decision to place the capital in the second-highest level - tier two - was the result of people's "monumental sacrifice" and would be a "welcome boost" for businesses.
Meanwhile, there was "huge relief" among MPs and businesses in Cornwall at being one of only three areas in England to be placed in tier one.
It came as data from the Office for National Statistics showed coronavirus infection rates in England were continuing to show signs of levelling off.It came as data from the Office for National Statistics showed coronavirus infection rates in England were continuing to show signs of levelling off.
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Are you a business owner? How will your business be affected by the latest rules? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.Are you a business owner? How will your business be affected by the latest rules? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.
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