UK lockdown: Three-tier lockdown system explained – where’s next?

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The UK lockdown was eased a few months ago to allow businesses such as pubs and restaurants to reopen. But in recent weeks the UK has seen an increase in the number of coronavirus cases recorded, and reports suggest stricter lockdown measures will soon be introduced in England.

As of 9am on Thursday, October 8, 17,540 cases of coronavirus were recorded in the UK.

Hospital admissions are also on the rise, with 1,000 more people in hospital with the virus compared to a week ago.

To tackle rising coronavirus cases, the Government is reportedly considering a three-tier lockdown system.

Under the system, reports suggest tier one areas would follow the national lockdown restrictions as usual – including the rule of six and sticking to social distancing.

In tier two areas additional restrictions could be put into place, such as bans on households meeting.

Areas under the highest third tier could see hospitality businesses close, such as pubs and restaurants.

However, so far the Government has not yet made any official announcements of a new lockdown system.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing on Thursday: “We are seeing coronavirus cases rise across the entire country but they are rising faster in the North East and the North West.

“We are keeping the data under close review and we are considering a range of options to reduce the spread of the virus in order to protect communities and to protect the NHS.”

Where is currently under additional restrictions?

In England swathes of North West and North East England are currently under additional lockdown restrictions.

In the North East local restrictions are in place in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Local restrictions are also in place for parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen, Merseyside, Halton and Warrington.

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Some additional restrictions are in place in the West Midlands, which includes Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull and Wolverhampton.

In West Yorkshire, restrictions are also implemented in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds.

There are also additional lockdown measures in place in Scotland, particularly across the central belt.

Wales and Northern Ireland also have some areas under additional lockdown measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

Where is next to be placed under local lockdown?

Until the Government makes any announcements, it is not currently clear where or what kind of lockdown measures will be put into place in the near future.

If Boris Johnson announces a new three-tier system, it is likely some of the areas seeing high numbers of cases could be placed under the highest tier.

This week Mr Hancock said he was “very worried” about the spread of the virus in certain regions.

He said: “I am very worried about the growth in the number of cases, especially in the North West and the North East of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and parts of Yorkshire.

“In parts of the country the situation is again becoming very serious.

“Hospitalisations in the North West are doubling approximately every fortnight. They have risen by 57 percent in just the last week alone.

“Unfortunately we’re seeing hospitalisations in the over-60s rising sharply and the number of deaths from coronavirus also rising.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty is said to have told MPs that the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care in the north of England will surpass the peak in April if infections continue to rise.

London could also face additional restrictions if cases continue to rise, as the capital has been on the national watch list for almost two weeks.

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