Coronavirus news: 8 million more to suffer curbs in battle to combat second wave
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West Yorkshire will be placed under the highest alert level from Monday after spiralling case numbers in the region. The Tier 3 restrictions will cover 1.8 million residents, including the cities of Leeds and Bradford. The move comes because local leaders said hospitals are “starting to struggle” to deliver essential care.
“The virus spread is now at a critical juncture,” leaders of West Yorkshire councils said.
With Nottingham entering the highest restriction level first thing today and West Yorkshire on Monday, it means 10 million will be living in Tier 3 areas, including Manchester and Liverpool.
Ministers are also placing an extra six million residents in the rest of the country under Tier 2 measures.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “decisive action” was needed to try to curb the surge in infections.
From midnight tonight, 16 more local authority areas including East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston-Upon-Hull, Derby, Luton and Oxford City will be declared “high risk” for coronavirus.
More Britons will live under Tier 2 restrictions than Tier 1 as a result of the latest announcements.
In Tier 2 areas, people must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting while the “rule of six” applies in all outdoor spaces.
They are also urged to reduce journeys.
Figures showed the weekly case rate in England soared to 201 people per 100,000 in the seven days to October 21, up from 100 people per 100,000 in the last week in September.
Mr Hancock said: “These restrictions are challenging for us all, but it is only by working together and following the rules that we will bring down the rates of infection.” Other Cabinet ministers yesterday insisted the Government was sticking to its strategy of targeted local measures but refused to rule out a return to a full national lockdown across England.
They faced intensifying pressure to change course after President Emmanuel Macron declared a fresh lockdown in France earlier this week and other EU countries tightened restrictions.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We can rule nothing out because we are a Government that is focused on making sure that we stop the spread of this virus and also that we protect public health.”
Earlier, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government will “try everything in our power” to avoid a national lockdown.
Dr Mike Tildesley, Government scientific adviser, said more national restrictions were needed, with the current trajectory of the disease likely to put nearly everywhere in Tier 2 before Christmas.
Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said there would be “genuine benefits to some kind of national policy”. He said: “There has to be a change.
“The rate of growth that we’re seeing in these data is really quite rapid.
“So one way or another, there has to be a change before Christmas.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis was in self isolation last night after recently coming into contact with someone who has since tested positive for the virus.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a new tiered system of restrictions will come into force at 6am on Monday.
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