In Brief

Leaked file reveals government plans for new three-tier local lockdown system

Pub closures and harsher social contact rules may be in pipeline for England as infections rise

A three-tier lockdown system that could see England hit by tougher restrictions is being planned as coronavirus infection rates soar across the country, a leaked government document reveals.

The proposed new framework is intended to “simplify the current patchwork of localised restrictions” and could include tough measures such as “the closure of pubs and a ban on all social contact outside of household groups”, The Guardian reports.

The leaked document is dated 30 September and titled “Covid-19 Proposed Social Distancing Framework”, according to the newspaper, which says that the plan has “not yet been signed off by No. 10 and measures could still be watered down”. 

Schools are not mentioned in the plan, with a government source reportedly sayng that closing classrooms would be a last resort. But under “Alert Level Three” - the most serious - the following restrictions could be imposed locally or nationally:

  • closure of hospitality and leisure businesses

     

  • no social contact outside households inside or outside

     

  • reintroduction of restrictions on overnight stays away from home

     

  • no non-professional sports or other group activities.

     

Measures in “Alert Level Two”, meanwhile, include restricting social gatherings to people within a household or support bubble, and limiting travel in all but essential purposes. “Alert Level One” includes the restrictions currently in place across England, including the “rule of six” and mandatory wearing of face masks in shops.

The leaking of the plan comes after Boris Johnson yesterday warned Britons of “bumpy” months ahead and a “tough winter” - a message that as the Daily Mail notes, marks the extent to which the prime minister has “dramatically rowed back on his previous optimism about Christmas”.

As the Tories’ virtual party conference got under way this weekend, Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the public should be “fearless but use common sense” to curb the outbreak.

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