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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson announces tiered system for local lockdowns

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  • Boris Johnson announces details of the new three-tier system for local lockdowns in England.
  • Areas in the most serious tier — ‘very high’ — will see pubs and bars closed, household mixing banned, and people advised not to travel outside of their areas.
  • Pubs will be allowed to stay open if they can operate as restaurants.
  • Household mixing will also be banned under the second tier known as ‘high.’
  • Areas in the least serious tier — ‘medium’— will continue with national rules on social distancing, the rule of six, and the 10pm hospitality curfew.
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Households will be banned from mixing indoors and pubs and bars will be closed from Wednesday, in large parts of England, under a new system for local lockdowns announced by Boris Johnson.

The UK prime minister on Monday afternoon unveiled details of the new “local COVID alert levels,” under which areas of England will be put into one of three categories depending on the rate of coronavirus infections hospitalizations.

The tiers will be “medium,” “high,” and “very high.”

Areas in the “very high” tier will have the strictest rules imposed on them, Johnson said.

Johnson said that he took “no pleasure” in announcing the restrictions, but insisted that “we must act to save lives.”

Household mixing will be banned and people will be advised not to travel outside of their area unless for essentials like work or for health reasons. Pubs and bars will be closed, although pubs that can operate as restaurants will be allowed to stay open as long as they only serve alcohol with meals.

Schools and retail outlets will remain open, however.

Areas in the ‘high’ tier will see a ban on household mixing while those in ‘medium’ will be asked to follow no more than the current national rules of regular hand washing, the wearing of face masks, and rule of six, and 10pm curfew on hospitality settings. Areas already under local restrictions will automatically go into the ‘high’ level.

The restrictions will be a baseline with local authorities allowed to impose further restrictions themselves if necessary.

Johnson’s opponents accused him of losing control of the pandemic.

 “I am now deeply sceptical whether the government has got a plan to gain control of this virus,” Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said.

“We tried to give the PM the benefit of the doubt, but it increasingly feels like the Prime Minister is several steps behind the curve and running to catch up with the virus that he has lost control of long ago.”

The UK government is expected to reveal a full list of areas and how the tiers they will be put into later on Monday.

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