UK lockdown latest: How would lockdown differ from Tier 4?

Jeremy Vine panellists clash over calls for national lockdown

Lockdown measures are becoming increasingly likely after Prime Minister Boris Johnson today said tougher measures will be initiated in a bid to control the rampant spread of coronavirus. The news came amid the UK confirming new cases surpassed 50,000 for the sixth consecutive day as more than 40 million people in England remain under the toughest restrictions. But how would lockdown differ from Tier 4?

Tier 4 restrictions are currently in effect across 78 percent on England affecting more than 40 million people.

The rest of the UK is in Tier 3 – except for the Isle of Scilly which is in Tier 1.

Despite Tier 4 rules, many areas are seeing a continuation in the rising rates of coronavirus in these areas – prompting experts to call on the Government to implement tougher measures.

The sharp increase in rates recently has been attributed to the new Covid-19 variants which is proven to be much more highly transmissible than the original strain.

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Mr Johnson warned tighter restrictions will come into effect soon.

He said there will be “tough, tough” weeks ahead in the UK’s fight against Covid-19.

The PM said: “If you look at the numbers there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course.”

Mr Johnson added the Government will endeavour to do “everything we can to keep the virus under control”.

He added: “I must stress at this critical moment it is so vital that people keep disciplined.”

In December a senior Whitehall source warned England could see tighter restrictions in the coming days as cases continue to soar.

The source added new measures could mean “adding another level onto Tier 4, so like a Tier 5.”

The insider told “We are ruling nothing out, the new strain is of serious concern. Tier 4 appears to not be strong enough.”

In light of this insight and the resulting speculation about Tier 5 measures, Mr Johnson was questioned about Tier 5 restrictions on Sunday.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, Mr Johnson said: “It may well be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in some parts of the country… I am reconciled to that and I think people around the country are reconciled to that too.”

The PM added: “There are obviously a range of tougher measures that we would have to consider.

“Well, obviously, we’re going to continue to assess the impact of the Tier 4 measures, the Tier 3 measures.

“I’m not going to speculate now about what they would be, but I’m sure that all our viewers and our listeners will understand what the sort of things… clearly school closures, which we had to do in March is one of those things.”

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How would lockdown differ from Tier 4?

Following Mr Johnson’s discussion of tougher restrictions in the coming days, many people are curious about how the rules would change from Tier 4.

Tier 4 rules currently mandate:

  • People should remain at home unless they have a “reasonable excuse” to leave their homes such as for work or education
  • All non-essential shops must close
  • Hairdressers and nail bars must shut
  • Indoor entertainment venues must close
  • You cannot meet people indoors unless they are in your household or support bubble
  • Gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts and dance studios must shut.
  • People cannot leave tier four areas or travel abroad except for a limited number of reasons.
  • Weddings and civil partnerships are banned except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Clinically vulnerable people are urged to stay at home “as much as possible”.
  • You can only meet one person in an outdoor public space so long as you are both alone.

Any lockdown measures would be more restrictive than this and could either see lockdown measures return to those implemented during the second lockdown in November or the first implemented in March.

The Government is undertaking discussions about the return of shielding according to sources, The Telegraph reports.

Shielding is expected to be rolled out to people in specific age groups according to the publication, with over-70s likely to be urged to remain indoors.

The latest data show a 33 percent rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas Day and January 2, figures which have caused alarm in Whitehall and the health service.

During the March lockdown, schools were forced to close and children were instead educated virtually from their homes either by their parents or e-learning platforms.

Another lockdown could see schools closed and remote learning instead encouraged.

During the first lockdown, people were only permitted to leave their homes for one of a few reasons:

  • To shop for basic necessities, such as food and medicine and must do so as infrequently as possible.
  • Exercise, just once a day either alone or with members of your household
  • Medical need, or to provide care or assist a vulnerable person.
  • To travel to and from work, but only where this “absolutely cannot:” be done from home.

In the second lockdown in November, schools remained open and people were not required to shield, but all businesses were closed and people were urged to stay at home.

It seems likely another lockdown would not see the closure of schools, after the UK Prime Minister today said his biggest regret from the first Covid-19 lockdown was closing primary schools.

He said it was his “greatest misgiving” when looking back at his response to the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Johnson said: “It’s very important to understand that back in March, one of the things I look back on with the greatest misgivings was the closure of primary schools because it’s so important for young people to get an education.

“That’s why closing primary schools is, for all of us, a last resort. That’s why we are looking at everything else we can possibly do to avoid that.

“I would stress schools are safe and the risk to kids is very, very small.”

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