The Prime Minister was forced to announce further restrictions following the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in parts of England. Due to the sharp rise in cases, Mr Johnson stated travel from areas under Tier 4 restrictions is now banned (unless there is an adequate reason) while households can no longer meet indoors unless those present are within a support bubble. Mr Johnson also revised the Christmas amnesty on restrictions to one day causing thousands to leave areas set to be moved to Tier 4 today.
Amid the change in restrictions, Express.co.uk is asking readers in our exclusive poll today, “Should Britons have been stopped from fleeing Tier 4 areas for Christmas?”
Following the announcement on Saturday evening, pictures emerged of desperate Brits rushing to leave the capital.
At London Paddington and St Pancras, footage showed large numbers of travellers attempting to board trains in order to escape before midnight.
The new restrictions have been enforced in order to stop the spread of a new strain of the virus which has been found to be 70 percent more transmissible.
The strain, VUI-202012/01 has spread rapidly through parts of the South East of England and London, causing hospitalisations to skyrocket.
Due to this, England’s chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty urged those in Tier 4 not to travel outside those areas.
He added: “The UK has identified a new variant of Covid-19 through Public Health England’s genomic surveillance.
“Given this latest development, it is now more vital than ever that the public continue to take action in their area to reduce transmission.”
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As well the ‘stay at home’ message and the ban on household mixing, all non-essential retail will close.
Tier 4 now applies to Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings.
The ban will also include all of London’s 32 boroughs while Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex will also be included.
Due to the new strain, parts of the South East and London now have some of the highest infection rates across England.
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In Essex, Thurrock is now registering 1,014 cases per 100,000 – the highest in England.
All the regions above 500 are now located either in London or the East and South East of England.
Following Mr Johnson’s announcement, Edmund King, president of the AA stated it was “an exodus” to leave the London.
He told The Mail on Sunday: “There are certainly elements of an exodus of some people from tier 4.
“I have heard of people actually hiring cars to get out of London to get to Liverpool because a lot of the trains are either restricted or booked.
“We have even heard of taxi drivers taking people longer distances – people calling minicab offices and saying, ‘I need to get to Nottingham’.