Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, Prince Edward, 56, and their teenage children Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13, stepped out at Sandringham on Sunday night to visit the estate’s Luminate light trail attraction ahead of the event opening to the public. While the Wessex family live at Bagshot Park in Surrey a royal source confirmed they travelled to Norfolk ahead of Tier 4 coming into force last Sunday.
Norfolk is currently under Tier 2 restrictions but this is due to change from Sunday when the region will be placed under Tier 4 rules.
Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the change on Wednesday afternoon as the Government takes extra measures to curb the rapid spread of new strains of Covid-19.
While much of the South East and East of England, including Surrey, is already under Tier 4, from December 26 the following regions will also be affected: Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, with the exception of the New Forest, and the parts of Essex and Surrey not already in the toughest restrictions.
Mr Hancock said: “This Christmas and the start of 2021 is going to be tough.”
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He added: “The new variant makes everything much harder because it spreads so much faster.”
“But we mustn’t give up now, we know that we can control this virus, we know we can get through this together, we’re going to get through it by suppressing the virus until a vaccine can make us safe.”
According to Mr Hancock, the new restrictions could be in place for “the next couple of months”, because the new Covid-19 variant has made keeping cases under control “very difficult.”
The further restrictions include a ban on travelling in or out of Tier 4 which could prevent Sophie and her family from travelling home to Surrey.