More Of England Could Move Into Tier 4 From Boxing Day
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has suggested that further areas of England could be placed under tier 4 coronavirus restrictions as soon as Boxing Day.
Ministers will reportedly meet on today, December 23, to discuss whether or not more areas should be placed under the toughest restrictions following the discovery of a faster-spreading stain of coronavirus.
Jenrick has said that a decision in regards to further action will be announced ‘as soon as we can’, and has also stated that ministers ‘won’t hesitate’ to change rules which currently allow those living outside of tier 4 areas to form ‘Christmas bubbles’.
Jenrick told Sky News the relaxation of restrictions for those not living under lockdown could be under threat should the new strain of coronavirus cases continue to rise.
We’re asking people outside of tier 4 areas to exercise great care, only to come together with a small number of people and only for Christmas Day.
If we need to change that in light of the new variant, then we won’t hesitate to do so.
However, Jenrick later clarified that it was ‘very unlikely’ that the Christmas bubbles would be scrapped, telling BBC Breakfast: ‘There is absolutely no plan to do so. People should go about their Christmas as they were planning to do so.’
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jenrick explained that those on the COVID operations committee will examine ‘what more we know now about the new variant’ and its prevalence throughout the country.
We know it’s very heavily concentrated in London and the East of England and the South East, but it’s not exclusively so, it’s also present more widely – that’s a source of concern.
He also remarked that ‘tomorrow is Christmas Eve, we don’t have any intention of changing the guidelines with respect to Christmas,’ adding: ‘We are not going to change people’s plans 24, 48 hours ahead of Christmas. However, the prime minister and others have been very clear that, even outside of Tier 4, there is a strong degree of personal judgment to be exercised here.’
It’s still up to people to come to a conclusion as to how many members of their family or other households they want to bring together on Christmas Day. The strong advice is to keep it small, to keep it short and therefore to be safe.
However, Jenrick did not rule out implementing changes straight after Christmas Day, and there is now widespread talk of a potential Boxing Day lockdown.
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