Boris Johnson announces Tier 4 restrictions for parts of UK
Yesterday evening the Prime Minister announced people from separate households will no longer be able to meet indoors over Christmas in new tier four areas. Such areas include London, Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire and it marks a u-turn on previous messages.
In areas not in tier 4, up to three households will only be able to meet for Christmas Day and not any of the days before or after it.
Previously, up to three households could meet up for a five-day period over Christmas across the nation.
Mr Johnson said he had “no alternative” but to implement the new measures after scientists said a new variant of Covid-19 in London, the south-east and the east of England appeared to be “passed on significantly more easily” than the variant before it.
He added: “Without action, the evidence suggests that infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives.”
Boris Johnson announced the new rules yesterday
Indeed, hospital admissions in London, the south-east and the east of England have been increasing by over 700 a day, the Guardian reports.
Simon Walsh, a London-based emergency medicine consultant, said the NHS’ workforce is being “broken down” by “unbearable pressure”.
In addition, Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, said she had been told hospital bed occupancy in north east London hospitals is as high as 95 percent “with local cases still expected to rise”.
She told the Guardian: “The situation is absolutely dire”.
READ: London CHAOS: Stations packed as Londoners flee before city goes into Tier 4 TODAY
Tier 4 will be in place across London and many south east areas of the UK
Whipps Cross hospital in east London last week declared a critical incident amid cancelled surgeries due to a surge in Covid patients.
The government yesterday reported 27,052 daily coronavirus cases and said 18,771 Covid-19 patients were in hospital – slightly lower than the first wave peak of 21,683.
In addition, there were 173,263 new cases reported over the past seven days – a rise of 48,275, or 38.6 percent, from the seven days prior to that.
However, the decision to toughen the rules was criticised by some even within the Prime Minister’s own party.
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Some are warning about the pressure facing NHS staff
Steve Baker, a prominent voice against coronavirus restrictions and a senior member of the lockdown sceptic Covid Recovery Group, hit out at the news.
He told Wycombe radio station Wycombe Sound: “This is a very sad day as we move into tier 4, equivalent to another lockdown.
“While we have no choice but to comply, it is clear lockdowns and increasingly severe tiered restrictions have so far failed in their goal of slowing the transmission of Covid.
Boris still faces criticism over the lockdowns from within his own party
WHO financial contributors
“And now the Government is requiring people to sacrifice the chance to share Christmas with family, friends and loved ones, just a few days after promising the opposite.”
Me Baker also called for the new changes to be put to a Commons vote “at the earliest opportunity”.
Boris Johnson said yesterday: “NERVTAG’s early analysis suggests the new variant could increase R by 0.4 or greater. Although there is considerable uncertainty, it may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant.
“I know how disappointing this will be, but we have said throughout this pandemic that we must and we will be guided by the science. When the science changes, we must change our response.”