UK: PM announces 3-tier local lockdown system

13th Oct 2020
UK: PM announces 3-tier local lockdown system

By Karim El-Bar

 

LONDON (AA):– British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in parliament on Monday a new three-tier lockdown system in England to “simplify and standardize” local coronavirus restrictions. Steve Powis, the medical director of England’s National Health Service said the UK had more coronavirus patients now than in the spring.

The first tier is “Medium,” which will cover most of the country and include existing national measures, including shutting pubs at 10 p.m. and not meeting in groups larger than six people inside and outside the home or in pubs and restaurants. Organised sport will be allowed only outdoors, while wedding and civil partnership ceremonies can have up to 15 attendees.

The second tier is “High,” and will cover areas where additional local restrictions are already in place, including a ban on different households mixing. Areas including Nottinghamshire and east and west Cheshire will be included in this tier.

The third tier is “Very High,” and will cover areas where cases are rising rapidly and the National Health Service is under threat of being under “unbearable pressure.” Measures in this tier include banning social mixing indoors and closing pubs, gyms and leisure centres entirely.

The port city of Liverpool will be in the third tier, including closures of gyms and leisure centers. Pubs and bars will only be allowed to stay open if they can operate as restaurants.

The Liverpool City Region includes the local authority districts of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, as well as the City of Liverpool.

  • Pubs and bars will close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Indoor gyms and fitness/dance studios, sports facilities, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will close;
  • Wedding receptions will not be permitted;
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside their local area, or entering another area rated Very High other than for work, education, accessing youth services, or to meet caring responsibilities;
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in the Liverpool City Region and avoid staying overnight in the Liverpool City Region if they are resident elsewhere.

By late Monday, every local authority in England should be placed in a tier.

The latest figures show that the North West has around 40% of all Covid-19 cases, with an eight-fold increase in patients being admitted to hospital. Currently, 30% of the North West’s intensive care capacity is taken up with Covid-19 patients.

They warned that in in four weeks’ time the North West could see more patients in intensive care than at the peak of the first wave unless action is taken.

The UK now has more COVID-19 patients in hospitals than it had in March when the national lockdown was introduced, the UK’s top medical professionals said in a televised briefing Monday morning.

The briefing was given by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam along with Steve Powis, the medical director of England’s National Health Service, and Dr. Jane Eddleston, the Greater Manchester medical lead.

Powis said the UK had more coronavirus patients now than in the spring.

Powis added that England was now approaching the same situation as France and Spain, where the virus is also surging and authorities are implementing more restrictions to stem the rising tide of cases.

He also said Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland, and Harrogate are being readied to accept coronavirus patients.

Johnson said a second national lockdown would not be “the right course,” but that letting the virus run its course would lead to an “intolerable death toll.”

The number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks, he added, and there are now more people in hospital with coronavirus than in March, when a national lockdown was imposed.

“The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country,” Johnson said. “I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed.”

Responding to Johnson’s statement, opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said he has “tried to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt,” but that Johnson was “several steps behind the curve and running to catch up.”

The local measures the government has brought in so far “have not worked,” Starmer said, adding: “I have to say I’m now deeply skeptical.”

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: PM Boris Johnson giving statement on three-tier Covid-19 restrictions in the House of Commons on 12 October, 2020. Photographer: Copyright UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor]

 

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