Reports Government considering 'Tier 4' restrictions to curb Covid infections

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out bringing in a tougher set of coronavirus restrictions in England.

Monday, 26th October 2020, 2:44 pm
Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.

Speaking on Monday, October 26, Mr Hancock set out some of the criteria for an area being downgraded from Covid alert level three (Tier 3), which is currently the highest of three sets of restrictions in England.

But the Health Secretary also refused to rule out a possible set of ‘Tier 4’ impositions following reports that another level is being considered to tackle England’s rise in infections.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a three-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, October 12, to ‘simplify’ and ‘standardise’ the rules across the country.

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The change saw parts of England divided into medium, high or very high alert levels and each tier comes with a different set of rules.

Going into Tier 3 means pubs and bars have to close unless they serve meals, while households are banned from mixing indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens.

Over the weekend, South Yorkshire became the latest region to come under the highest tier of controls following Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

The North East and Tees Valley currently sit under Tier 2, but there have been reports that parts of the region could be placed into Tier 3 if infections do not reduce.

Talks are understood to be ongoing with leaders over a potential change.

Asked about the criteria for an area to exit Tier 3, Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday: “The first thing that’s most important is that the case rate has to be coming down, and in particular we look at the number of cases amongst the over-60s because that’s the number that is likely to translate into hospital admissions and sadly into deaths.”

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a new five-tier set of restrictions for Scotland last week, which will come into action from Monday, November 2.

The tiers run from a baseline of Level 0 to Level 4 – the strictest and closest to the full lockdown restrictions seen from the end of March.

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