In Brief

Coronavirus: will more areas of the country face Tier 4 restrictions?

London and Southeast first to be hit with new rules amid spiralling infections

Government advisers have warned that Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions will probably be rolled out across more of the country, after the rules were imposed on London and parts of the Southeast on Saturday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday “warned the Tier 4 restrictions could be extended nationwide”, after describing that new strain of Covid as “out of control”, the Daily Mail reports.

The paper says the decision to introduce a further tier of lockdown restrictions was spearheaded by Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson, who led the move into a first lockdown in March before resigning after being caught breaking the rules.

Ferguson today told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “this virus is unpredictable, how people behave is unpredictable, so we will track the epidemic as we always have done. Policy will be formed on the basis of that”.

Asked about the potential for the measures to be in place until spring, he added: “The tiers are reviewed every two weeks and will continue to be reviewed. But I certainly agree it's not looking optimistic right now.”

Whitehall sources told The Telegraph that Tier 4 orders “may stay in place for months, until most over 50s have received the vaccine”, with “ministers believ[ing] at least 20 million people will need to have been vaccinated before any significant relaxing of the measures can be considered”.

The Whitehall figures also told the paper that further areas could be placed into Tier 4, even before Christmas, if “the new variant fuels spikes elsewhere”, adding: “A full national lockdown could not be ruled out.”

So far, the majority of cases have been contained within London and the Southeast. However, as of Sunday, Wales had reported 28 cases and the Southwest 27 cases, suggesting that it is on the move across the country

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