Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has suggested that more areas of England will be placed under level 4 coronavirus restrictions as soon as Boxing Day to combat the “very concerning” hyper-infectious variant of Covid-19.
Jenrick said the government’s Covid-O operations committee will meet Wednesday morning and a decision on further action will be announced “as soon as we can.”
Amid reports that all of Sussex, parts of the Midlands and the North of England could be placed at level 4, meaning a ban on all domestic mixing, Jenrick hinted that the new rules would not go into effect before Christmas Day. .
He told BBC Breakfast: “It is necessary to judge whether the tiered system is strong enough or whether at some point in the future we need to take further action.”
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced strict nationwide restrictions in the last 48 hours to try and contain the new Covid-19 variant, which is said to be 70% more infectious than previous strains and has already spread across the world. UK.
Jenrick said the government did not plan to impose a third national lockdown on England, but wanted to make sure the tiered system was “robust enough” to control the disease.
While it may be too early for scientists to fully understand the impact of the Level 4 restrictions, which were introduced in London and other parts of the South East on Saturday, there will be concerns that the infection rate has started to rise, so pronounced, in some cases. locations: in areas below level 3, such as Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.
Jenrick described the new Covid-19 variant as a “major game changer” and it was now prevalent outside London and south-east England, although it is still much more concentrated in and around the capital.
He added: “What we want to do now is make sure that the tiered system is correct, that it is robust enough, that it can hold up and do the job of keeping the virus under control, even in these new changing circumstances. “
The Daily Telegraph reported that local leaders and health officials in Birmingham met Tuesday evening to discuss the possibility of the city moving to level 4, while areas at lower levels could move to level 3.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has written to the prime minister to tell him that his party would back any government move to tighten restrictions if that is what scientists recommend.
Sinn Féin has said that an island-wide travel exclusion should be introduced in Ireland to stop the spread of the new variant there.
It came as France lifted its travel ban and allowed travel from the UK to resume, but said those seeking to travel must test negative for the coronavirus.
NHS and military test and trace personnel are expected to be deployed for the mass testing program in Kent, where more than 2,800 heavy vehicles were stuck Tuesday afternoon.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) warned that UK supply chains would be affected despite the massive testing program that is being introduced. An RHA spokesperson said: “Even if the border is opened, a short delay in the process will mean big delays in the supply chain.”
The protocol agreed with the French government will be reviewed on December 31, but could be in force until January 6, said the Department of Transport (DfT).
Those who can take trips include French and EU residents, British or third party citizens who normally live in France or the EU, as well as some other groups.
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