London is the latest city to put put under higher lockdown restrictions as cases across the UK continue to climb. Today, the UK recorded 15,650 new cases of COVID-19 and 136 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, government data showed. From Saturday, Lancashire – including Burnley, Blackburn, Blackpool and Preston – will face the toughest restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, joining nearby Liverpool and Merseyside as Tier 3. Prime Minister Johnson today said he wanted to avoid another national lockdown “if at all possible” but added he “cannot rule anything out”.
When does London go into Tier 2?
London will become a Tier 2 City from midnight tonight – meaning the capital will face Tier 2 restrictions from October 17.
Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also move to Tier 2 from Saturda.
Areas already in Tier 2 include Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Tees Valley, West Midlands, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
The restrictions put some 25.2 million people in high-risk areas.
What happens in Tier 2?
Areas categorised as high risk will see household mixing banned indoors while the rule of six will continue to apply outdoors.
People must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.
Up to 15 guests will be allowed at weddings and up to 30 people allowed at funerals, with 15 allowed at receptions and wakes.
Shops, gyms, all education settings, and places of worship will remain open, with overnight stays permitted.
Travel advice for those living in Tier 2 is to reduce the number of journeys they take where possible and avoid travel into very high Tier 3 areas.
On Friday, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there was an estimated average of 27,900 new cases per day of Covid-19 between October 2 and 8.
And now scientific research group Independent Sage set out its six-week emergency plan to bring COVID-19 infection rates below 5,000-a-day.
The blueprint from the group also calls for “urgent reform” of the NHS Test and Trace system.
Independent Sage’s proposals for a two to three-week lockdown include the immediate closure of schools, non-essential retail and businesses, the leisure and hospitality sectors (takeaways permitted) and places of worship.
It also calls for a return to two-metre physical distancing, a ban on household mixing outside of support bubbles and a switch to online teaching in universities.
Dr Gabriel Scally, a former NHS doctor and professor of public health at the University of Bristol, said: “Our emergency plan gives us an opportunity not only to get the virus back to a much lower level, but it also gives us an opportunity to put the framework in place to make sure it stays there.
“If we don’t take this opportunity, we are doomed to a groundhog day where as soon as this period is over and things relax, we will go back up again.
“Enough is enough. Fighting this virus without an effective find, test, trace, isolate and support system properly integrated and run at a local level by the NHS, and with local authorities, fighting without that is like fighting a battle with one hand tied behind your back.
“At the moment we are doing that, and that is why we’re losing.”