Health Secretary Matt Hancock will detail which of the three toughened tiers, ranging from the lowest at Tier 1 to the highest at Tier 3, each local authority in England will face when the current four-week national lockdown ends next Wednesday. The Government has said allocations were made using a decision-making process based on several recommendations to ministers from both regional and public health experts. The final decisions on which tier each local authority will be placed into were made by Boris Johnson on Wednesday evening at a meeting of the COVID Operations Committee, where the Prime Minister was presented with the most up-to-date infection data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The three new tiers will be reviewed two-weeks later on December 16, meaning areas of the country that are able to slow the spread of coronavirus to be moved down to a lower alert level in time for Christmas.
But in a sign of the devastating impact from the new tougher restrictions to be announced, Mr Johnson told a Zoom meeting of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers last night: “I don’t want them to be any tougher than they need to be, but I have to warn you — they are going to be tough.”
Now millions of people throughout the country face the toughest of the available lockdown restrictions.
Manchester, the third biggest city in England with a population of nearly three million people, is set to be placed into Tier 3, with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham admitting this was “more likely than not.”
UK tier rules: Matt Hancock will detail which areas of england will face which restrictions
UK tier rules: Manchester could be hit by the toughest restictions
Mr Burnham, who clashed with the Government prior to the national lockdown in a fight against the city being hit by the harshest measures under the previous tiered system, insisted although infection numbers in Manchester are still high, the rates were falling.
He added: “If things continue in this direction at the rate at which we are seeing change in Greater Manchester, I would want to ask the Government for a serious review of Greater Manchester’s position at the first review of tiering arrangements which is scheduled to take place two weeks from now.”
The city of Hull, as well as South Yorkshire and large swathes of east and north-east England, are also heading for Tier 3.
Tier 3 restrictions state bars, cafes and restaurants must remain shut except for takeaway services, with different households unable to mix except in public places outdoors.
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UK tier rules: London is likely to remain in Tier 2
Areas of the country hit by the top level of restrictions will be offered support from NHS Test and Trace and the armed forced to deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme, utilising lateral flow COVID-19 tests, which give results within an hour.
Health Secretary Mr Hancock said: “I know for those of you faced with Tier 3 restrictions this will be a particularly difficult time but I want to reassure you that we’ll be supporting your areas with mass community testing and extra funding.”
London will likely be placed under Tier 2 restrictions – along with most other parts of the country, many of which will be promoted from Tier 1.
Mayor Sadiq Khan He said it would be the “right and sensible decision” for London to be placed in Tier 2, warning Tier 3 would be a “hammer blow” to businesses throughout the capital.
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UK tier rules: Liverpool could be placed into the second tier
UK tier rules: Boris Johnson will lead a news conference from Downing Street on Thursday
Liverpool was the first major city in the UK to be hit with the harshest restrictions under the previous system but is now all but certain to drop into Tier 2.
Ministers in the city had signed up to a new community testing pilot, with Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram saying: “The progress we’ve made since we were put in Tier 3 is remarkable.
“We’ve gone from having two areas with infection rates of about 750 per 100,000 people to 180 across the city region.”
Tier 2 restrictions state different households will be banned from mixing indoors, while alcohol can only be served by premises in the hospitality sector as part of a meal.
UK tier rules: The updated three-tier lockdown system explained
In a welcome update, up to 2,000 people will be allowed to attend outdoor events, and 1,000 indoors.
But there will only likely be a handful of areas in England that will fall under Tier 1, with most previously in the lowest alert level being upgraded to Tier 2.
Rural parts of eastern England, Cornwall and Cumbria are some of the only areas that will get away with the lightest restrictions.
Mr Johnson will chair a Cabinet meeting on Thursday afternoon and will emerge from his own period of self-isolation to give a news conference from Downing Street to explain more around which areas in England will be placed under which tier in the toughened system.
Chancallor Rishi Sunak told the BBC on Thursday morning: “I know people are frustrated, of course, it is frustrating living under restrictions, especially the last month has difficult for everybody.
“People will see a tangible change wherever they are compared to the last four weeks where people have been living with difficult restrictions.”
The Prime Minister has also urged the public to “think carefully” over Christmas after it was confirmed that three households will be able to form a “bubble” from December 23 to 27.