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More areas plunged into ‘Tier 3’ restrictions this weekend

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Areas in the East and South East of England will be moved to the highest alert level of restrictions this weekend as coronavirus cases and hospital admissions sore.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said in the South East of England, cases are up 46% in the last week while hospital admissions are up by more than a third.

In the East of England, cases are up two thirds in the past week as hospital admissions are up by nearly half.

“It is therefore necessary to apply ‘Tier 3’ measures across a much wider area of the East and South East of England”, he said.

These areas will now move into the ‘very high alert’ level for local restrictions:

• Bedfordshire
• Buckinghamshire
• Berkshire
• Peterborough
• Hertfordshire
• Surrey – with the exception of Waverley
• Hastings and Rother, on the Kent border of East Sussex
• Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire.

These changes take effect from one minute past midnight on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, in Bristol and North Somerset, rates have come down from 432 per 100,000 to 121 – and as they’re falling further, Hancock said these areas will come out of Tier 3, into Tier 2, on Saturday.

Further, rates in Herefordshire have also come down, to 45 in 100,000 and as such, it will come out of Tier 2 and into Tier 1 this weekend.

Hancock said: “No one wants tougher restrictions any longer than necessary.

“But where they are necessary, we must put them in place to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed and protect life.

“I want to pay tribute to everyone who’s been doing the right thing and getting rates down, whether or not your area has come down a tier today. It’s so vital that everyone sticks at it and does the right thing, especially over this Christmas period.

“Everyone has a personal responsibility to play their part in keeping this pandemic under control.

“I know that other areas are so eager to move down tiers and the best thing we can all do is act with responsibility to get the virus under control.”

Tier rules

Under the very highest restriction rules – Tier 3 – the hospitality sector will be closed and will only be able to offer takeaway or delivery services. Social interaction will be curbed so people who don’t live together can only see family and friends in outdoor public places, subject to the ‘Rule of six’. Households can’t mix in indoor settings or meet up in bars, pubs or restaurants.

Under Tier 2, you can’t socialise in an indoor setting with anyone who doesn’t live with you and the ‘Rule of six’ applies to outdoor gatherings. Businesses and venues can continue to operate in a Covid-secure way while pubs and bars must close unless they operate as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

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