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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Explained: What are the new three-tier Covid-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom?

Areas across Britain will be classified on three alert levels -- medium (tier 1), high (tier 2) or very high (tier 3). Here's what the new rules propose

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 19, 2020 12:43:34 pm
Britain, Britain lockdown, tier 2 lockdown, tier 2, tier 2 lockdown rules, what is tier 2, london lockdown, liverpool lockdown, indian expressMembers of the entertainment industry stand on Matthew Street in Liverpool, England, Monday Oct. 12, 2020, during a show of support for the hard hit sector as Prime Minister Boris Johnson lays out a new three-tier alert system for England. (AP Photo: Jon Super)

On Monday, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled fresh restrictions due to Covid-19. The three-tier system is to help manage the rising cases across the country. The guidelines for the three alert levels — medium, high and very high — will be debated in the House of Commons Tuesday and will depend on the outcome of the vote. If approved by Parliament, they will come into effect from Wednesday onward.

Britain lockdown: What do the new rules propose?

Areas across Britain will be classified on three alert levels — medium (tier 1), high (tier 2) or very high (tier 3). The classification of areas will be decided based on the Covid-19 transmission rate, incidence and test positivity, the number of older and at-risk age groups that are infected, hospital admissions and other factors. The measures can change since they will be kept under constant review.

How will the categorisation of areas in Britain work?

The medium alert level (tier 1) will cover most of the country and will consist of the national measures that came into force from September 25 onward. In these areas, all businesses and venues can continue to operate in a “Covid-secure” manner, other than nightclubs.

Further, businesses selling food and drinks are required to close between 10 pm and 5 am, but businesses and venues that are selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10 pm as long as it is through a delivery service, click and collect or a drive-through.

In these areas, schools, universities and places of worship can also remain open. Weddings and funerals can be conducted as long as restrictions on the number of attendees are followed. People are not allowed to meet in groups larger than six, indoors and outdoors.

Britain, Britain lockdown, tier 2 lockdown, tier 2, tier 2 lockdown rules, what is tier 2, london lockdown, liverpool lockdown, indian express A view of people outside a bar in Liverpool, England, Monday Oct. 12, 2020. (AP Photo: Jon Super)

For areas under a high alert level (tier 2), people are not allowed to meet anyone outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether this is at home or in a public place. People in these areas are also encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make, whenever possible, and are urged to walk or cycle instead of using public transport.

In areas that are under very high alert levels (tier 3), pubs and bars can remain open only if they operate as a restaurant, in which alcohol will be allowed to be served as part of meals. Further, wedding receptions in these areas are not allowed, and people are discouraged to meet anybody outside their household or support bubbles, indoors or outdoors. Residents of tier 3 areas are discouraged from travelling to other parts of the UK unless it is for work, education or accessing youth services.

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Which areas are in medium, high and very high alert levels?

As per the rules, all of England is under medium alert level, while areas such as Chesire, Greater Manchester, Warrington, Derbyshire Lancashire, West and South Yorkshire, the Tees Valley, West Midlands and Nottingham are in the tier 2 category. The Liverpool City region is the only one under the very high alert level.

Britain, Britain lockdown, tier 2 lockdown, tier 2, tier 2 lockdown rules, what is tier 2, london lockdown, liverpool lockdown, indian express Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement in the House of Commons in London, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)

Why has Britain announced new Covid-19 restrictions?

Cases in the country are rising rapidly, which is resulting in increased deaths and hospitalisations. Johnson has said that more action is required to make sure the National Health Service (NHS) is not overwhelmed, and is able to provide essential services such as cancer care.

As per data available on the government website, the UK is reporting more than 13,000 infections daily and has reported about 617,000 infections in total so far. The total deaths are at about 42,000 with 50 deaths being reported everyday. According to BBC, after a steady decline since the first peak in April, confirmed cases have been rising since July, with the rate of growth “increasing sharply” from the end of August.

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