When will new lockdown rules begin?
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As the UK grapples with a rising number of coronavirus cases, the Government acknowledged last week it was considering a “range of options” to control the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will likely unveil a new three-tier lockdown system in England in a press conference today (Monday, October 12). Areas with the highest risk of coronavirus transmission are likely to face stricter lockdown measures, including bans on socialising with other households and the closure of hospitality businesses.
Later today the Prime Minister is expected to provide an update on the new three-tier lockdown system at a televised Downing Street press conference.
The new measures will likely see areas divided into medium, high or very high risk areas, and additional lockdown restrictions will be applied accordingly.
Very high-risk areas could see closures of hospitality businesses such as casinos and pubs, settings which the Government say have reported high levels of virus transmission.
There have also been reports these areas could see a curb on overnight stays away from home, and potentially bans on non-essential travel.
A number of areas in the North East and North West are likely to be placed under these stricter restrictions, as rates of infection continue to rocket in certain areas.
Liverpool has recorded one of the highest rates of infection in England, most recently with a rate of 598.5 per 100,000.
The metro mayor of Liverpool, Steve Rotherham, said on Sunday the city is one of the areas likely to be put under stricter lockdown restrictions.
He said: “Of course, it is very challenging for people.
“The measures we are taking are having a bad impact on health, they are having a bad impact on the economy but ultimately it is better to do that than to allow the virus to get out of control.”
At the Downing Street press conference today the PM will be joined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who will update the nation on financial support for businesses affected by restrictions.
Businesses who may be forced to close, which could include pubs, casinos and gyms, will be able to pay two-thirds of employee salaries with the Job Support Scheme (JSS).
The Chancellor also recently announced increased provisions for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG).
But since the Chancellor announced the new measures, many have criticised the schemes for not going far enough to support the economy and preserve jobs.
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When will new lockdown rules begin?
According to various news reports, restrictions could be brought in as early as Wednesday, October 14.
Speaking to Sky News on Monday morning, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden acknowledged restrictions could remain in place until after Christmas.
He said: “If those measures are successful we hope to be able to take areas out of those high levels of restrictions.
“The purpose of doing this is to ensure we get the virus under control so by the time that we get through to after Christmas we are in that position where it is under control.”
He added: “Indeed I hope it will be sooner than that.”
In light of new measures being announced, a Downing Street spokesperson said the UK is at a “critical juncture” in the fight against coronavirus.
The spokesperson added it is “absolutely vital” everyone follows the guidance to help control the spread of COVID-19.
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