In recent months the Government has not ruled out bringing in stricter measures to control the spread of coronavirus in England. With a national lockdown already in place, there are still further steps the Government could take to make the lockdown stricter. Similarly if national lockdown measures come to an end and the tiered-lockdown system is reinstated, extra tiers such as Tier 5 and Tier 6 could possibly be introduced in the future.
What stricter restrictions could be brought in?
Boris Johnson has signalled the Government hopes to start easing some lockdown restrictions over the coming months.
Speaking on a visit to a vaccination site in north London, Boris Johnson said ministers were looking at infection rates and progress in vaccinating the top four priority groups.
The Government is currently aiming to offer first vaccine doses to the top priority groups by mid-February.
Nurseries are currently open, in order to allow people who have to attend work to access childcare.
However if the rate of transmission remains too high, the Government could consider closing these venues to get cases under control.
During the current lockdown, people are allowed to form support bubbles with single-person or single-parent households.
This guidance may also be scrapped to help prevent household to household transmission of the virus.
Similarly, one person is allowed to meet another person outside and at a social distance during the third lockdown, but this guidance could also be scrapped in the future.
People are also currently allowed to exercise for an unspecified amount of time, as long as it is only once per day.
This guidance could be reduced to the original lockdown rule of only one hour of exercise outside being allowed per day.
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Where are Covid cases highest in England?
The UK coronavirus dashboard map includes data for Covid transmission in local areas.
The latest map includes data of the seven-day rolling rate of new Covid cases ending January 19, 2021.
The seven day rate is expressed per 100,000 of the population, and is calculated by dividing the seven-day count in an area by the population and multiplying by 100,000.
Some areas in England are reporting very high rates of Covid cases at above 800, and could potentially face stricter lockdown measures if cases do not drop.
In the capital, Ealing reported a rolling rate of 802.8 (2,744 new cases), while Hounslow reported a rolling rate of 831.6 (2,258 new cases).
Slough reported a rolling rate of 879.4, with 1,315 new cases in the seven days leading up to January 19.
In the Midlands, Sandwell reported a rolling rate of 895.4 (2,941 new cases), while Wolverhampton reported a rolling rate of 837.3 (2,205 new cases).
In the north-west, Knowsley reported a rolling rate of 961.1 with 1,450 new cases.