London was placed in Tier 2 of Boris Johnson's controversial Covid-19 restrictions today – but Matt Hancock has already warned its 8.9 million residents that he believes the city is dangerously close to moving up to Tier 3.
The decision to bail out Tier 3 capital will be a relief for many in the hospitality industry who can reopen with restrictions when the current national lockdown ends on December 2nd.
Coronavirus cases are rapidly declining in more than two-thirds of London's boroughs – and appear to be stalling in the rest – and critics have called for the Prime Minister to now be transparent about how capital can get into Tier 1 as quickly as possible. The government says it will review the levels every two weeks.
But Matt Hancock told the Commons this afternoon that the capital was more likely to head the other way, saying, "There is a lot to be done in London to keep it at Tier 2." Mr. Hancock has given all of neighboring Kent a Tier 3 rating.
The capital's top restaurateurs and hoteliers had warned that ranking the capital in Tier 3 would wipe out half of the city's hospitality industry and set off a “nuclear bomb” of job losses after Christmas.
Lead restaurateur Richard Caring, who owns chains like The Ivy and Bill & # 39; s, said he was "very glad" that London was in Tier 2, but if it had been in Tier 3 we "might as well have that Being able to turn off the light ". He told MailOnline: “These so-called politicians are only advised by scientists and not by commercial reality. They destroy people faster than this virus. "
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was the "right decision" because "Londoners have done exactly what has been asked of them since this pandemic began" – but condemned the government for continuing a curfew on Pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants.
But he added, “I am extremely disappointed that the government is sticking to specific measures that appear to be doing more harm than good. I'm glad we persuaded the government to end the 10pm curfew, but it is a mistake to extend it to 11pm when it is about to be lifted completely. It's a big blow to pubs, bars and restaurants that have had such a difficult year and deserve better. "
When the government of England unveiled new levels, it also emerged today:
- The government's website and zip code checker immediately crashed under the weight of online traffic – some annoyance that the data wasn't published as a simple list first;
- Around 55 million English residents will find themselves on the toughest two levels after the blanket national lockdown ends on December 2nd. J.Only 700,000 people – one percent of the population – will be the least restricted in remote Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
- It's annoying that there is more Tier 3 in the north of England compared to the south.
- The Prime Minister has decided to impose Tier 3 on Manchester, Nottingham, Hull, Newcastle, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
London will be ranked Tier 2 as of December 2 as coronavirus cases have declined in two-thirds of all London boroughs and stalled in the rest, as the latest 7-day numbers (pictured) show
After 14 days of self-isolation, Boris Johnson was allowed to leave Downing Street for the first time. Sitting next to Matt Hancock in the House of Commons when he justified placing only three areas in Tier 1, he warned Londoners that they are more likely to be in Tier 3 than Tier 1
North-South Divide: Most of the toughest restrictions have been placed on the North and Midlands, while most of the South is in Tier 2. Only three remote areas of England are in Tier 1: Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight
The onerous tiered system will run across England from December 3 to the end of March, the Prime Minister said
What level are you in
ANIMAL THREE: VERY HIGH
Tees Valley Combined Authority:
Redcar and Cleveland
Northeast Combined Authority:
Newcastle upon Tyne
Blackburn with Darwen
Yorkshire and The Humber
Birmingham and Black Land
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull
Derby and Derbyshire
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
Leicester and Leicestershire
Slough (Rest of Berkshire is Tier 2: High Alert)
Kent and Medway
TIER 2: HIGH
Liverpool City Region
Warrington and Cheshire
Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
East of England
Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
All 32 boroughs plus the City of London
Brighton and Hove
Windsor and Maidenhead
Hampshire (excluding the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton
South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
Bath and North East Somerset
Wiltshire and Swindon
TIER 1: MEDIUM
Isle of Wight
Isles of Scilly
Shaun Bailey, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, said: "I'm glad London avoided Tier 3.
“In order for our city to recover, companies and employees have to work almost normally.
“So Sadiq Khan has to come up with a plan to get us into Tier 1, work with ministers, and end the Games. The future of London depends on it. "
The Prime Minister has decided to impose Tier 3 on Manchester, Nottingham, Hull, Newcastle, Birmingham and Wolverhampton, which is expected to throw a wrecking ball on pubs, restaurants and clubs that are now forced to close or only offer take-out on Christmas and New Years.
Millions of people will also be prohibited from being with other households inside or outside, except for five days during the holiday season.
There will be additional complications, however, as all of Kent, which borders all of South East London, is in Tier 3.
The Ministry of Health said decisions about levels were based on a number of factors, including case detection rates in all age groups, and particularly those over 60. However, the government has yet to release data on how it came to this conclusion for each area – or the criteria for how areas will move up and down. This is decided privately by ministers and SAGE scientists.
How quickly fall rates rise or fall is taken into account as well as local pressures on the NHS, including current and planned capacity. Level 3 areas are supported by NHS Test and Trace and the Armed Forces to run a six-week rapid community testing program that uses rapid cross-flow tests that provide results within an hour.
Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities in London and Westminster, said: "While I am relieved that London did not get into Tier 3, I remain concerned about the economic impact Tier 2 will have – especially on the hospitality sector."
“Restaurants, cafes and pubs have worked incredibly hard to ensure Covid security. I will continue to urge the government to publish a clear way how we can advance to the first stage. "
The decision to save capital from the most brutal of restrictions will be a relief for many in the hospitality industry that can be reopened to some extent once the current national lockdown ends on December 2nd.
But the Prime Minister has decided to put Tier 3 on huge parts of the country, including five major cities and all of Kent – throwing a wrecking ball through pubs, restaurants and clubs that are now being closed.
When Tory MPs threatened mutiny in a key vote on the plans next week, it emerged that only Cornwall, Scilly and the Isle of Wight were given the loosest tier, allowing for houses and pubs that are usually the order of the day Six are subject to socializing.
Apart from five days over Christmas, millions of people are forbidden from being in contact with other households indoors.
Coronavirus cases are rapidly declining in more than two-thirds of London's boroughs – and appear to be stalling in the rest. Liverpool have also run after a successful campaign to control their outbreak after mass testing in the city.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock officially revealed the division of land in the Commons after days of the dispute, saying the country must remain "vigilant". He also defended the criteria used for complaints that they were too vague and "fingers in the air".
But in the midst of shambolic scenes, the government previously hired an online zip code checker.
While local residents, journalists and MPs struggled to collect the news about the decisions made, the site immediately crashed under the weight of the traffic.
Tier 3 means that millions of people would be banned from mixing indoor and outdoor households, and pubs can only offer take-away service or have to close entirely.
The Prime Minister has placed most of England Tier 2 and Tier 3 despite being told that it is "difficult to justify" cases now falling in every region of the country.
Government sources said "at least one" of the cities that were in Tier 3 would fall into Tier 2, with most evidence pointing to the city of Merseyside after the infection rate dropped dramatically from 162 per 100,000 from 700 five weeks ago.
The revised Tier 2 restrictions close pubs unless they serve meals and order people not to meet other households indoors.
Greater Manchester, where Labor Mayor Andy Burnham has fought a fierce government battle against severe restrictions, is expected to remain in stage three. This means a ban on the entire hotel industry and encounters with other households except in public spaces.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted that people will "see a difference" when England's national lockdown ends next week. He told Sky News today, “No matter what level you are at, I think people will see a noticeable change.
"That said, things are obviously not normal and I can't pretend next week things will feel like they are before spring."
The Prime Minister, who will hold a press conference tonight, told Conservative MPs last night that the new measures would be "very tough".
But he is ready for massive backlash from his own banks amid the anger that the measures are destroying thousands of companies, restricting themselves to another name, and finger-in-the-air criteria for making decisions.
Ministers have tried to ease tension by emphasizing that the levels will be revised every two weeks, with the first due on December 16. This suggests that restrictions could be eased before the “Christmas bubble” eases on December 23rd.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said the virus has been brought back under control in the city and is now ready for Tier 2.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today program this morning that there had been no talk of what level the city would be on but added: "I think the numbers and data warrant that Liverpool is at least on level 2 is. "
When asked if he would encourage other Tier 3 areas to accept the restrictions, Mr. Anderson said, “Yes, absolutely, because it's about saving lives. There is no question that the measures we took in Liverpool saved lives.
“National and local governments should take care of that. It protects your people and saves lives. & # 39;
But Greater Manchester Mayor Mr Burnham tweeted, “Places that are tier 3 today are not getting any additional funding for business support than tier 1 or tier 2. Could that possibly be fair? #LevellingDown. & # 39;
A study published yesterday found that the previous Tier One was "clearly inadequate" the last time – only one of the 169 areas previously under these rules saw a decrease in cases.
There is evidence that the only regions at the lowest level may be isolated parts of east England and rural Cumbria and Cornwall where the rule of six continues to apply.
WHAT ARE THE NEW ANIMAL RULES?
Level one will be the default and action cannot be more relaxed in any part of England:
- The rule of six and social distancing apply to both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
- Pubs and restaurants may only be opened with table service and a closing time of 11 p.m.
- People from separate households cannot meet inside and the rule of six applies outside;
- Pubs have to close unless they work as restaurants. Alcoholic drinks are served with meals.
Level three will be the toughest level of restrictions and the rules have been tightened to make them stricter than before. All Tier Two rules apply, plus the following:
- Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theaters and bowling alleys must be closed.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes must be closed except for takeout.
- Shops, hairdressers and salons can remain open;
- Groups of six people are only allowed to meet outdoors.
- Crowds at live events are prohibited.
- People should avoid traveling to or from Tier 3 areas unless it is inevitable.
The tiered system will come into effect at the end of the national lockdown on December 2nd – but the measures go further than the previous regime, meaning that the third tier is effectively a transition to full lockdown.
However, areas where progress is being made in slowing the spread of the virus could be moved down a notch before Christmas. The first review of the allocations should take place by December 16.
The most important decisions on the lockdown levels were made last night at a meeting of the Covid O committee chaired by Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock. They will be stamped by the Cabinet before Mr Hancock makes a statement to the Commons.
It comes after Oxford University's foremost academic Carl Heneghan said areas that fall within the strictest Levels 2 and 3 could be in an "entirely different position" next week.
Professor Heneghan, an epidemiologist, said if rates continue to fall, "it will be difficult to justify tighter tiered restrictions".
Instead, there should be clear criteria that determine whether the strictest measures are taken in the areas.
He insisted: "By December 2nd we will be in a completely different position than we are now. Therefore we have to be much more flexible and reactive and set clear criteria."
He told MailOnline, "There's no point telling people," Here you are now (in terms of Covid) and you will be in that category next week. "
“We should explain to people the two important criteria that should decide which areas fall into which levels – symptomatic cases and hospital rates.
“For example, if Kent is announced to be in Tier 3 and 50 percent of Covid patient hospital beds are occupied, people could be told to adjust that to 30 percent to get out of Tier 3. These are objective criteria. & # 39;
His warning came when the UK recorded its highest daily virus death toll since early May.
Official data showed that 696 deaths were confirmed yesterday. This is the highest since 726 deaths on May 5th.
The prime minister, slated to leave number 10, will hold a press conference tonight and inform Conservative MPs last night that the new measures will be "very tough".
These graphs show how the infection profile in the UK changed between mid-September (left) and mid-November
Speaking to a troubled committee of its MPs last night in 1922, the Prime Minister said, “I see we are making steady progress over the next four months. They will really undermine the virus' ability to harm our populations. & # 39;
The economic forecasts submitted by the Treasury Watchdog, the Office for Budgetary Responsibility, assume that the measures “high to medium” – levels 2 and 3 – will be in force by the middle of next year.
But the prime minister told MPs he disagreed with their "dire prediction," The Telegraph reported, believing vaccines would get Britain out of the swamp beforehand.
Mr. Johnson compared the mass test and vaccination programs to the "steady insertion of graphite rods into a nuclear reactor."
Even so, the Tory backbenches remain seriously annoyed with the tier system.
Jake Berry, of the Tory MPs Northern Research Group, said, “We reiterate our call for a clear path out of the tiering system and to make sure the North doesn't get stuck in a lockdown on Hotel California, where we enter Tier Three but can never go. & # 39;
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce the restrictions today following Mr Johnson's final decisions on the Covid Operations Committee.
Mr. Hancock said, “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of people across the country, we can move out of national lockdown and into more targeted local, graduated restrictions.
“I know this is going to be a particularly difficult time for those of you facing Tier 3 restrictions, but I want to assure you that we will be supporting your areas with mass community testing and additional funding.
"By following the rules together, we can get out of these tough measures."
The Ministry of Health said decisions about levels would be based on a number of factors, including case detection rates in all age groups, and particularly those over 60.
Official data showed that 696 deaths were confirmed yesterday. This is the highest since 726 deaths on May 5th
Liverpool City Mayor Steve Rotheram said he hoped the area – which was the last to reach the highest level for the first time – would not revert to level 3 restrictions.
He said, "The progress we've made since our Tier 3 rating is remarkable. We've grown from two areas with infection rates of around 750 per 100,000 to 180 across the metropolitan area."
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said it was "more than likely" that his area would be subject to Tier 3 restrictions.
He said even though the infection numbers are still high in Greater Manchester, the rates have been falling.
He added: “If things continue in this direction at the rate at which Greater Manchester is changing, I would like to ask the government for a serious review of Greater Manchester's position at the first review of the proposed tiering arrangements in place two weeks. & # 39;
Meanwhile, Lancashire council presidents have made a proposal to the government to split the county into two different tiers when the lockdown ends next week.
It has been requested that Hyndburn, Rossendale, Burnley, Pendle and Preston be subject to Tier 3 restrictions while Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster, Chorley, South Ribble, Ribble Valley and West Lancashire are subject to Tier 2 restrictions.
And London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was the "right and sensible decision" to place the capital in Tier 2 as he warned that Tier 3 is a "hammer blow" for businesses.
The animal system is reintroduced in England as scientists have warned that the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas could lead to a third wave of the pandemic and another lockdown.
The Prime Minister urged the public to "think carefully" about the festive season after it was confirmed that three households can form a Christmas bubble from December 23-27.
Professor Graham Medley, an infectious disease modeling expert at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said easing restrictions during the holiday season could lead to more people being hospitalized and more lockdown measures in place in the New Year.
We're being softened to draconian new curbs … and kamikaze sabotage of our economy
Commentary by Stephen Glover for the Daily Mail
Rishi Sunak gave an impressive speech in the House of Commons yesterday. The Chancellor's calm manner and attention to detail filled me with confidence.
His message was that even though Britain is in an "economic emergency", the government is ready to spend a lot of money that we don't have to get out of it. Better times are around the corner.
But do they do that? Could our ailing economy recover more slowly than Mr Sunak hopes if the scientists who have captured half of Boris Johnson's brain and all of Matt Hancock's brain prevail?
Today the government will unveil its new system of "stages" that will take effect when the lockdown ends on December 2nd. There is reason to fear that most of England will fall below Strict Level Two for weeks or the fluctuating Level Three, possibly months.
Rishi Sunak (pictured) gave an impressive speech in the House of Commons yesterday. The Chancellor's calm manner and attention to detail filled me with confidence
London could be in tier three, which would disable the capital. Parts of the north are sure to be ranked top tier. And yet, new infections across England are falling to just 9,854 on Tuesday, about half a week earlier.
According to Professor Carl Heneghan, an expert in evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, it will be difficult to justify tighter tiered restrictions after December 2 if the trend continues.
However, this appears to be the government's intention. The ministers use criteria that are far from transparent and seek advice from a shadow body called the Joint Biosecurity Center to determine our future.
Will the Prime Minister and Cabinet meekly submit? Or do they dare to stop this suicide rush to damage new restrictions imposed by unaccountable scientists who have no knowledge of economics or economics?
If ever there was a time for Mr. Johnson to heed his own Tory instincts rather than the advice of scientists, this is the right one. I am afraid it will riot the British public.
In the last few days he has presented himself as Santa Claus. It is a rum state to be told that we can lead a fairly normal life for five days over Christmas and that up to three households are allowed to mix, which is considered a dispensation. Gosh, we're even allowed to hug!
Below tier three, pubs and restaurants will have to close except for food stalls. Under Tier Two, pubs can only sell drinks with "large" meals, which is inconvenient for most of them. Pictured a pub in Skipton in August
We have become so used to our freedoms being restricted and the government micro-managing the smallest aspects of our lives that even a partial repeal of the draconian rules is received as a relief.
Are we getting softened? Will Boris, who pretended to be a brilliant Santa Claus, return to Scrooge soon?
We could sleepwalk into another lock, similar to the one we will emerge from, though called something else, in the hopes that we will be too demob-happy to notice.
To get a glimpse of the rigid minds of some scientists telling the Prime Minister what to do, I would like to introduce Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Sage Advisory Board.
On Monday, that misery declared that the détente will allow the virus to consciously spiral out of control for Christmas and we need further lockdown measures. But the people who are infected and die as a result – we will not get their lives back. "
Perhaps the zealots really don't like the fact that for the first time in ages people will decide for themselves. Children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles – everyone can weigh up the risks and opportunities and decide for themselves instead of having to make them up again.
Are we getting softened? Will Boris, who pretended to be a brilliant Santa Claus, return to Scrooge soon? Pictured Christmas lights on New Bond Street in Mayfair, London, on Tuesday
But it won't be long. We may have thought that the government scholars – with their exaggeratedly bleak projections and their sometimes misleading graphs – were on the decline, but no. You are still responsible.
In fact, I bet the prospect of a vaccine makes them even more presumptuous. They expect us to endure a few more months of hardship and imprisonment, believing that deliverance is near.
Maybe we will. But I don't think the economy can survive any more shocks. Below tier three, pubs and restaurants will have to close except for food stalls. Under Tier Two, pubs can only sell drinks with "large" meals, which is inconvenient for most of them.
Tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs are at stake, although there is limited evidence that pubs and restaurants are happy hunting grounds for the virus.
Emma McClarkin of the British Beer and Pub Association says pubs are facing "economic devastation" and wonder why they cannot "open properly while households in private settings can mix".
A nearly empty Leicester Square in London, Tuesday 24th November 2020. Haircuts, shopping trips and pub visits will be back on the agenda for millions of people when a four-week lockdown in England ends next week
Meanwhile, JD Wetherspoon chief Tim Martin warned Tuesday that a million jobs could be lost due to the government's "flawed" approach. He added, "Nobody in government seems to have any experience running a business."
He is absolutely right. Ministers don't seem to know what makes companies tick any more than wise scientists do. That is shocking in a conservative cabinet.
Bringing London into the third tier would be particularly idiotic, not least because it generates around 22 percent of Britain's GDP. Labor Mayor Sadiq Khan said he would "hammer blow" companies. "Our city's unique ecosystem of bars, restaurants, clubs, and cultural institutions would suffer immeasurable losses, and some might not survive."
And what would the basic principle be? The incidence of new infections in London shows a 7-day rate of 187 Covid cases per 100,000, compared to 230 cases per 100,000 in England as a whole. Cases in the capital have decreased in the past 14 days, including among those over 60 who are most at risk from the virus.
Covid patients are not bursting at the seams in London's hospitals either, although ministers never say so. There are currently 1,489 patients with the virus in hospitals across the capital, less than a third of the number at the height of the spring pandemic. Of these, 253 are equipped with mechanical ventilators, compared to a high of 1,046 in April.
I am only staying in London for its importance to the economy, but the same arguments apply to much of England which may suffer from the government purge.
Of course it could be a bluff. The government could pretend that capital is headed for Tier Three, so there will be far-reaching relief when it gets into Tier Two today. But Tier Two is more draconian than it was before the lockdown. London should be in Tier One.
If Mr Johnson insists on including most of England in Tier Two and Tier Three, he will face opposition from dozens of Tory MPs and may not be able to take his coercive measures through the Commons without Labor support. That would be humiliating.
We have a two-part government. A part who was embodied by Rishi Sunak yesterday looks to the future, is aware of the uncertainty of our situation, but calmly plans ahead.
The other part, represented by Matt Hancock and a group of scholars who know nothing about the business, is ready to strangle the economy in some foolish act of sabotage. We are about to find out if Boris Johnson is a prudent or a kamikaze Tory.
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