A number of tier 2 local authorities have been ordered to move up to tier 3 by the UK government, after a sharp rise in the number of reported coronavirus cases. Which towns and areas in London, Essex and Hertfordshire have moved to tier 3?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock explained that the infection rate has dramatically increased in some parts of the country over recent weeks.
London, Essex and Hertfordshire have seen Covid cases exponentially rise over the past few weeks.
As a result, the Government has ordered a number of local authorities to move into tier 3 restrictions.
Tier 3 is the highest form of local restrictions, which includes no social mixing from other households in private settings.
READ MORE: Tier 3 rules – how does it differ from tier 2?
Matt Hancock said: “Mr Speaker, the first formal review of the new tiering system takes place this Wednesday, two weeks after the new rules came into force.
“However, I need to tell the House that over the last week, we’ve seen very sharp, exponential rises in the virus across London, Kent, parts of Essex, and Hertfordshire.
“We do not know the extent of how much this is caused by the new variant [of coronavirus].
“But no matter the cause, we have to take swift and decisive action, which unfortunately is absolutely essential to control this deadly disease while the vaccine is rolled out.
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“In some parts of these areas, the doubling rate is around every seven days.
“We have therefore decided to move Greater London, the south and west of Essex, including Basildon, Brentwood, Harlow, Epping Forest, Castle Point, Rochford, Maldon, Braintree, and Chelmsford, along with Thurrock, and Southend-on-Sea borough councils, and the south of Hertfordshire, which involves Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Watford, and the Three Rivers local authority, into tier 3, which is the Very High alert level.”
Most of Essex will move into tier 3, the Health Secretary confirmed.
That includes the majority of west Essex, Chelmsford, Southend-on-Sea, and Brentwood, while Colchester and Tendring remain in tier 2.
Greater London will also enforce stricter rules, as Covid cases have crept up to alarmingly high levels.
Hertfordshire boroughs that will move to tier 3 include Broxbourne, Hertsmere and Watford.
The authorities will move into the highest restrictions from Wednesday at 00.01am.
A new variant of the coronavirus has been identified in the southeast of England, which may be playing a role in the spread of the infection.
Action had to be taken immediately to avoid over-running the NHS, urged Hancock.