Lockdown: England to get tougher three-tiered system after national lockdown

Henrietta Strickland
November 22, 2020

Johnson's office said late Saturday that the government plans to return to a three-tiered system of restrictions, with areas facing different measures depending on the severity of their outbreaks.

When the tiers return it is thought more areas will be placed under the tightest set of restrictions and the controversial 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will be altered.

The original three-tiered regional approach was introduced on October 12 as the government tried to control a surge in COVID-19 cases without resorting to a national lockdown.

It is not yet clear exactly how restrictions could change.

Johnson's Cabinet will meet Sunday to work out details of the plan before the prime minister presents it to the House of Commons on Monday.

Some local measures will be the same as those in the previous three tier system, used in England to tackle the spread of coronavirus up until the current lockdown began.

SAGE is expected to publish further papers on Monday arguing that the previous tiers were not strict enough and that a tougher regional approach is required.

The prime minister will acknowledge that the measures are hard, while making clear they are not to last longer than is absolutely necessary, and that the need to support the economy is being taken into account.

According to the Daily Telegraph, several families could be allowed to join in one "bubble" and mix between December 22 and 28.

Ministers will set out what tier each area will be placed into on Thursday and MPs are expected to be given the vote to approve the new tiering system, as promised by Mr Johnson, in the days before it comes into force on December 2. "That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS", the spokesperson said.

Boris Johnson is expected to announced that pubs and restaurants will be allowed to stay open later once current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The warning against measures inflicting "huge health and economic costs" came in a letter to the Prime Minister, which sources close to the group said had been signed by 70 Conservative MPs, though the only signatories identified were the group's leaders, former Brexit minister Steve Baker and ex-chief whip Mark Harper.

The NHS is preparing to administer the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine next month, once it has been approved for use in the United Kingdom by regulators, and it will be rolled out more widely in the new year.

Downing Street will hope this - combined with an easing of restrictions over Christmas, will lessen the scale of the rebellion.

But the opposition party has been urging the government to lay out its plan for what will happen when the national restrictions end.

But the CRG letter said: "We can not live under such a series of damaging lockdowns and apparently arbitrary restrictions and expect our constituents to be grateful for being let out to enjoy the festive season only to have strict restrictions imposed on them afterwards that cause them health problems and destroy their livelihood".

A Labour spokesman said "we will look closely at any proposals the Government brings forward" but called for "proper packages of support" for businesses that are unable to fully reopen.

A group of 70 backbench Tory MPs are threatening to block Boris Johnson's plans to tighten the tiered system of local lockdowns, which England will return to after its lockdown ends.

It is likely that this will see the lowest tier of restriction - under which Norfolk was previously operating - being the one strengthened, with Dr Susan Hopkins, Public Health England's director advising the government's coronavirus response saying earlier in the week that it had had "little effect" on infections rates.

The number of deaths was down from 511 on Friday, and 462 on Saturday 14 November.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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