Families In London, South East, And East Banned From Meeting At Christmas As Areas Moved Into New Tier 4
People living in London, the south east and east of England will no longer be able to mix households over Christmas, after Boris Johnson announced plans to move the areas into tier 4.
All non-essential retail must shut and people are being warned to ‘stay at home’ while people living in tier 4 will be banned from leaving tier 4 areas or staying away from home overnight, from tomorrow morning, December 20.
In addition, the prime minister announced that the relaxed Christmas rules will not be allowed to go ahead as planned. People living in tiers 1-3 will only be allowed to mix with up to two other households on Christmas day, rather than from December 23-27 as planned.
Johnson said the rapid spread of the virus in the south is thought to largely be down to the new variant of COVID-19. Although the new variant is not thought to to be more deadly, or make people any more unwell, it is said to be up to 70% more transmissible.
It comes just days health secretary Matt Hancock moved London, most of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire into tier 3, as case numbers began to rise.
The government has been under increasing pressure to re-evaluate the relaxed Christmas bubble rules after a report from both the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal claimed the mixing of households will lead to almost 19,000 new cases of COVID-19 in NHS facilities by New Year’s Eve.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the prime minister said the government’s intention to allow family and friends to meet up over Christmas ‘remained,’ however they reminded people that the guidance is ‘under constant review’.
‘As we always have done during the pandemic, we keep guidance under constant review,’ the spokesperson said, the Independent reports. ‘But our intention to allow families and friend to meet up during the Christmas period remains.’
COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in London and the South East, with the capital now recording the second-highest number of cases in the country. Basildon in Essex is currently the worst hit local authority with 865 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Havering in London with 846 cases per 100,000.
The UK has recorded a further 27,052 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, which is down slightly from Friday’s 28,507 new cases.
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