Three-tier system of local lockdowns introduced
Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed a new three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions in England.
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, Johnson explained how the country will be divided into three Covid-19 alert levels: Medium, high, and very high.
Local infection rates will determine the level of alert an area will be placed under. The aim is to simplify the range of different Covid-19 restrictions that were already in place across various parts of England.
People can be fined up to £10,000 for breaking the rules in their area.
The measures will debated in the Commons tomorrow and come into force on Wednesday (14 October).
Johnson is expected to make an announcement to the public this evening.
What do the alert levels mean?
The medium level includes the current national restrictions such as the “rule of six” and the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants.
The high alert level will see people prevented from socialising with other households indoors.
Some areas already subject to local restrictions, such as Greater Manchester and Birmingham, will fall under the high alert category.
The very high alert level will see people banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, with bars and pubs closed.
Residents will also be advised against travelling in and out of these areas. However, non-essential shops, schools and universities will remain open.
Local politicians will decide whether leisure venues such as gyms and casinos should also close.
Liverpool City region is one of the areas under the high alert level.
Fines for non-compliance
The new lockdown tiers come as three students at the University of East Anglia in Norwich were fined £10,000 each for holding a house party attended by up to 100 people.
The students were supposed to be self-isolating after showing symptoms of Covid-19.
The government warned party organisers that they risked £10,000 fines back in August.
Fines for breaking Covid restrictions start at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offenders.
People can be fined for gathering in groups of six or more, if they don’t have a work or education exemption, inside or outside in England.
The penalties also apply to people who fail to quarantine for 14 days after returning home from a country on the UK’s quarantine list.
The three tiers only apply to England, with the devolved nations having other systems in place.
The Scottish government announced last week that pubs in the country would be barred from selling alcohol indoors for 16 days.