Covid-19: New Tiers and Lockdown Rules Announced in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Branches and Reps will be aware that over the weekend a series of announcements were made in relation the introduction of new tougher Tier-4 Coronavirus/Covid-19 Lockdown restrictions across the UK. Tier-4 is the toughest of the county’s five tiers of restrictions (0-4). For those affected, Tier-4 will essentially be a return to the full Lockdown. The Government stated that “throughout the public health emergency, they have had to respond quickly to the rapid changes, which have been so typical of Coronavirus. New information has required an immediate response.”
London and much of south-east England has been put into Lockdown (known as Level 4 or Tier-4) which came into force from Sunday 20 December. The measures will remain in place for at least two weeks, with a review at the end of that period to decide if it needs to be extended, with the prospect of a possible full National Lockdown to follow in the new year.
The areas affected are:
- Greater London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
- Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes)
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth
- Rother and Hastings
- Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
The whole of Wales has entered another lockdown from 20 December for 3 weeks.
The whole of mainland Scotland will begin a new Tier-4 lockdown for three weeks from one minute after midnight on Boxing Day morning on Saturday 26 December.
The whole of Northern Ireland begins a six-week lockdown on Boxing Day Saturday 26 December.
The planned relaxation of Covid-19 rules for Christmas have in the main been scrapped for large parts of south-east England (as listed) and cut to just Christmas Day for the rest of England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland, no changes have been made to Christmas restrictions, with three households allowed to meet from 23 to 27 December.
The Reason for the Changes and New Lockdowns
The action was prompted by Government concerns over a new strain of Coronavirus – known as VUI 2020/01 – which is believed to spread more quickly than the original strain and is judged to be the reason for rapidly rising infection rates in the south east of England and elsewhere.
The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) suggests the new more aggressive strain is significantly more infectious and is up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant, spreading more quickly and affecting more people.
While the expert advisory group of scientists are fairly certain the variant is transmitted more quickly, there is no evidence to suggest that it is more lethal or causes more severe illness.
There is also no evidence to suggest the vaccine will be any less effective against the new variant.
COVID-19 cases have been nearly doubling in London over the past few weeks, while in the east and south east of England cases have continued to rise significantly.
Over 60% of infections in the capital have been the new variant, which is thought to have emerged in mid-September.
The Government has urged people to continue to get Covid-19 vaccinations. 350,000 people across the UK have already had their Covid-19 vaccine jab. In the coming weeks, the number of vaccination clinics should increase six-fold, following which the plan is for mass vaccination centres to be set up in sports stadiums and conference centres. That could see two million people a week being vaccinated.
Tier 4 Lockdown Rules Summary
- You must stay at home.
- Only allowed out for work, exercise, education, emergencies, childcare, hospital/GP appointments, vets, essential shopping.
- Travel Ban enforced by law.
- No Christmas bubbles.
- No entry to or exit from Tier-4 areas.
- No overnight stays outside home.
- Non-essential shops and hairdressers closed.
- One person can meet one other person outside.
- International travel banned unless for work.
The Full Tier-4 Government Guidance Rules can be found at:
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer