Boris Johnson today warned Andy Burnham he will move to impose tougher coronavirus restrictions on Greater Manchester unless the mayor backs down in his row with the Government as the Prime Minister also failed to rule out a second national lockdown.
Mr Johnson told Mr Burnham that ‘time is of the essence’ as the premier addressed a press conference in Downing Street this afternoon.
The PM said he had ‘not yet reached an agreement with Greater Manchester’ on moving the area into tier three and that he understood Mr Burnham’s ‘reluctance’.
But he said the ‘situation in Greater Manchester is grave and it worsens with each passing day’ as the UK recorded another 15,650 cases – 13 per cent higher than the 13,864 recorded last Friday.
He urged Mr Burnham to ‘engage constructively’ with the Government and to do so quickly as he warned that without action ‘more people will end up in intensive care’ and more people will die.
Mr Johnson made clear his preference is to work with Mr Burnham but he said if there is a continued failure to reach an agreement on moving into tier three then ‘I will need to intervene’.
He said: ‘On present trends in just over two weeks there will be more Covid patients in intensive care than at the peak of the first wave.
‘So I urge the mayor to reconsider and engage constructively. I cannot stress enough time is of the essence, each day that passes before action is taken means more people will go to hospital, more people will end up in intensive care and tragically more people will die.
‘Of course if agreement cannot be reached I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester’s hospitals and save the lives of Manchester’s residents but our efforts will be so much more effective if we work together.’
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson also failed to categorically rule out imposing a nationwide lockdown as he would only go as far as saying: ‘If at all possible I want to avoid another national lockdown.’
The importance of taking swift action to tackle the surge in infections was summed up by Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, who told the press conference: ‘From a purely epidemiological point of view it is important to go quite fast on this, it is important to make sure that you hard enough to get the R below one. The sooner you do that the more you get this under control.’
Mr Johnson had earlier demanded Greater Manchester leaders focus on ‘saving lives’ as he hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level.
Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means all bars and pubs that do not serve meals must shut – as well as a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace.
However, there was anger in Liverpool that it has been made to close down gyms and leisure centres, while they can stay open in Lancashire.
The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million.
But the standoff over Greater Manchester looks to be deepening, with the Government warning this morning it will not be ‘held over a barrel’ by Mr Burnham.
Mr Burnham reiterated his demand for more financial support today, after saying the North was being treated like a ‘sacrificial lamb’ and a ‘canary in the coalmine’ with experimental restrictions. He has claimed that if London – which enters Tier Two from tomorrow – was in the same position there would be a nationwide clampdown.
Mr Johnson had earlier warned that efforts to extract the maximum money from the Government will not work.
‘This is about saving lives,’ he said. ‘This is about us joining together locally and nationally to get the R down, to make these regional restrictions, this tiering system, work and to save lives.
‘Everybody in Greater Manchester and all the areas that are still finding it difficult should think about it.’
He added: ‘I’d much rather not impose things, I’d much rather that we were able to work out something together with local authorities, with the mayor in Manchester.
‘But it is up to local leaders to show the kind of leadership that we have seen in Liverpool, in Lancashire and in London.’
Mr Johnson is also facing mounting pressure from his own SAGE experts to trigger a ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze across the country over half-term – with one scientist even suggesting the process might need to be repeated again and again until a vaccine becomes available.
In other key developments today:
- Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country;
- SAGE member Professor Jeremy Farrar said the current base level of restrictions, which includes a 10pm curfew, were the ‘worst of all worlds’ as they inflicted economic damage while not going far enough to suppress the virus;
- Another SAGE adviser has suggested that a series of ‘circuit breakers’ could be needed, planned around school holidays, to get the outbreak under control;
- Wales is preparing to defy the PM by bringing in its own ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – as an ‘unenforceable’ travel ban on English people from coronavirus hotspots travelling to Wales comes takes effect tonight;
- London is in its last day before Tier Two restrictions come into force, meaning around nine million people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors;
- Mr Raab said he took ‘very seriously’ allegations of a Russian disinformation campaign against the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous.
Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference this afternoon that the ‘situation in Greater Manchester is grave and it worsens with each passing day’
Boris Johnson (pictured left in No10 today) is preparing to put Greater Manchester on the Government’s Tier Three list with or without Andy Burnham’s go-ahead
Now they want a SERIES of circuit breakers: Government adviser says we should shut down the country around EVERY school holiday
A series of coronavirus ‘circuit breakers’ should be pencilled in around the school holidays, a senior Government official said last night.
Three weeks ago the Sage group of scientists advising ministers recommended a short lockdown to halt the rise in Covid-19 cases, which the Government chose not to follow.
But yesterday the senior government adviser argued for a ‘whole series’ of circuit breakers planned around when schools break up.
The idea is aimed at causing minimum disruption to schoolchildren while allowing families to plan ahead – although the cost of a temporary lockdown to the economy has been estimated at £2billion a day.
The expert, who did not want to be named, said: ‘One of the things we think would be good would be to plan to have a whole series of these, probably placed around the school holidays so that they didn’t disrupt education – or perhaps add a week to existing holidays.
‘Tell people they’re coming, so everybody can plan for them. And then if you don’t need them well fine, we’ll cancel them. It seems to us that one of the damages of lockdown is that they arrived right out of the blue.
‘Now obviously, you would need to make sure people didn’t all have massive parties the week before the circuit break came into being.’
Justifying the move in Lancashire, Health Secretary Matt Hancock pointed to an ‘unrelenting rise’ in cases.
The DoH said rates were highest for those aged 16-29 at 552 per 100,000 people.
Among the most vulnerable over-60 age group the rate stands at 214.
However, in Burnley the older generation is being affected much worse, with 594 infected per 100,000 people.
The government also warned that the lag between infection and hospitalisations meant patients were set to rise.
‘The number of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care beds has reached nearly half the number seen at the height of the pandemic earlier this year, and the latest data suggests there will be more people in mechanical ventilation beds in Lancashire within two weeks than there were in the first wave,’ the government said.
‘This is as a result of infections which have already happened, rather than a prediction – underlining the need for urgent action now to prevent the epidemic in Lancashire rising even further.’
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said on Twitter: ‘Liverpool City Region has demanded immediate clarification on why Lancashire gyms are allowed to stay open and Liverpool’s close.
‘Inconsistent mess, we now have Tier 3 A and Tier 3 B.
‘Are gym users in Lancashire more safer than those in Liverpool region?’
The bitter standoff with local leader showed no sign of breaking today, with Northern mayors issuing a joint statement condeming the financial package available.
The statement from Mr Burnham, Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of North Tyne and Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said: ‘The Government is claiming that the North is divided and only interested in getting what we can for our own region.
‘That is simply not the case.
‘We are all united in fighting for an 80% furlough scheme for all people affected by regional lockdowns, wherever they are in the country. Paying two-thirds of salaries will not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands – it should at least match the 80% that was available under furlough, with the minimum wage as the minimum support.
‘The Universal Credit top-up is not the answer. It doesn’t help everybody and takes weeks to come through. It will not prevent severe hardship for thousands of low-paid workers before Christmas.
‘But we won’t forget the self-employed and freelancers and other business who will be affected by these lockdowns, they also need support and we stand firm for those too.
A third of English councils saw a FALL in coronavirus cases last week
Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country.
As many as 41 out of 149 councils recorded a fall in their Covid-19 infection rates in the week ending October 11, according to Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report. For comparison, only two saw a dip last week.
And only eight registered a surge in cases of more than 50 per cent – more than 13 times less than the week before when 109 local authorities saw major spikes, suggesting the second wave may be slowing down.
The biggest dip was recorded in the city of Manchester – which the Government is threatening with a tier three lockdown – with a 22 per cent fall in infections from 557.8 to 433.8 cases per 100,000 people.
Southend-on-sea saw the second largest fall, with a 20.5 per cent dip from 42.6 to 33.9 cases per 100,000 people. Slough, outside London, came third with a 19 per cent drop in infections from 86.9 to 70.2 per 100,000.
But many areas still recorded rises in infections – although none saw rates double compared to the 52 areas that recorded this surge last week.
‘This is a fight for what is right.’
But in a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Mr Burnham of trying to ‘hold the Government over a barrel’ by resisting tougher coronavirus restrictions.
‘Ultimately we need to take action – we can’t have a situation as we have seen in Manchester where Andy Burnham is effectively trying to hold the Government over a barrel over money and politics when actually we need to take action,’ he told BBC Breakfast.
‘The cases there are 470 per 100,000 so it is very serious, and we must take action in the interest of the people of Manchester and the wider area, and if we take those targeted actions in those areas most affected… we get through this and we avoid the national level lockdown.’
Mr Raab urged Mr Burnham to ‘do the right thing by the people of Manchester’.
Responding directly to Mr Raab on twitter today, Mr Burnham said: ‘It’s not about what we want for ourselves, @DominicRaab.
‘It’s about what we want for low-paid and self-employed people everywhere: fairness.’
In a worrying sign for the government, northern Tory MPs have lined up with Mr Burnham to condemn the plan for curbs.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee and MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said: ‘The case has not been made for Greater Manchester to move into a Tier Three lockdown.’
Fellow Tory William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove in Manchester, said health ministers had ‘achieved the impossible’ by uniting local politicians of all parties against the government’s plans.
Jake Berry, former minister for the Northern Powerhouse, and MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said many people in the region already ‘don’t know or understand what the rules are’ because they are on the ‘twentieth set of rules’.
Mr Berry pointed out that following last year’s election triumph, the Tories now have 80 Northern MPs, adding: ‘They are the Prime Minister’s majority and, bluntly, he needs to look after us.’
The backlash was fueled by a ‘sh**show’ conference call between health minister Helen Whately and Greater Manchester MPs yesterday, while talks between the PM’s senior aide Sir Eddie LIster and councillors went little better.
Wales WILL defy PM to push ahead with ‘unenforceable’ plan to shut border to travellers from English COVID hotspots TONIGHT
Wales today vowed to push ahead with an ‘unenforceable’ ban on travellers from English coronavirus hotspots.
First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that the rules will come into force from 6pm tonight after accusing Boris Johnson of ignoring his pleas to impose an equivalent restrictions.
It is set to apply to all residents from areas in Tier Two and Three lockdowns – now more than 30million people – as well as the central belt of Scotland, and the whole of Northern Ireland.
However, the idea of border restrictions has already been derided as impractical and anti-English by critics.
The move comes as Mr Drakeford said he was ‘looking very carefully’ at whether to bring in a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
If he goes ahead with the proposals to shut bars and restaurants temporarily, it would leave England as the only UK nation not to have such blanket measures in place.
Ms Whately and Sir Edward couldn’t answer how furloughed staff in the hospitality sector – those worst-hit by Tier Three – could access their benefits. They were also apparently unable to show MPs and leaders scientific evidence about Covid-19’s transmission.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said: ‘Despite repeated attempts to claim we’re divided there was total unity from Conservative and Labour Greater Manchester MPs on the call with the minister this morning.
‘We will support evidence based interventions with adequate financial support. We will not support this chaos.’
Placing large chunks of the North into Tier Three is central to the Prime Minister’s plan to avoid a national circuit-breaker lockdown by targeting action at the areas with the highest infection rates.
On the other side of the argument, former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, whose Chingford and Woodford Green constituency is directly affected, said London was ‘being used to stop the debate about the North-South divide’.
He urged ministers to ‘look again’ at the decision to put the whole capital into a form of lockdown when many boroughs were seeing relatively low cases.
Downing Street said the PM wanted to move forward with ‘as much consensus as possible’ but confirmed ministers do have the powers to force whole regions into the top tier.
However, ministers fear that if Labour sides with Tory rebels, the Government could be defeated in a confirmatory vote on the regulations, which would be needed next month to keep them in force.
There are also fears that the row could undermine public confidence in the measures even if they are imposed.
Professor Clifford Stott, a scientific adviser to the government, warned that the stance adopted by Mr Burnham and others could sow confusion about the value of the restrictions.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Where you have got local leaders disputing the legitimacy of government measures it is creating the conditions where people are less likely to adhere.’
Hospitality bosses say 200,000 London workers will lose their jobs this weekend as Tier 2 bites
Around 200,000 people in central London could lose their jobs in hospitality this weekend as Tier 2 sees a ‘maximum squeeze on revenue and no support’, an industry spokesman warns.
Last night revellers descended onto London’s streets to enjoy their final night out before the capital is plunged into the tighter lockdown restrictions, announced yesterday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
From midnight today individuals from different households in London, Essex, York and parts of Derbyshire, will be banned from mixing indoors, even in hospitality venues – with outdoor socially distanced mingling permitted for groups of up to six.
Party-goers in central London opted to spend last night traipsing from pub to bar in Soho, ahead of tonight’s Tier two ban, which will mean groups of friends (up to six) from different households will be required to meet in beer gardens or at restaurants with outdoor seating if they wish to support the already struggling industry.
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, has warned that the lack of sector-specific funding offered to the country’s hospitality industry could be ‘catastrophic’.
However, Professor Stott backed calls from Mr Burnham and others to put in more financial support, warning that some people would otherwise be unable to stick to the rules.
More of the government’s own scientific advisers have continued to rail against the PM’s approach.
SAGE member Professor Jeremy Farrar said the current base level of restrictions, which includes a 10pm curfew, were the ‘worst of all worlds’ as they inflicted economic damage while not going far enough to suppress the virus.
The director of the Wellcome Trust told the BBC’s Newscast a short ‘circuit-break’ should have been introduced in September and implored ministers to ‘act’ as soon as possible.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam is understood to have backed the circuit-breaker plan – telling leaders in the North that a country-wide lockdown was the only strategy ‘certain’ to succeed.
Mr Burnham said the ‘very least’ he would accept was a full reinstatement of the furlough scheme paying 80 per cent of the wages of people unable to work because of the lockdown.
No 10 said talks with local leaders would continue today. So far only Liverpool City Region has agreed to go into Tier Three.
There had been widespread briefings overnight that the area would be shifted into the harshest Tier Three category along with Lancashire.
However, the mood shifted abruptly after health minister Ms Whately held what was branded a ‘sh**show’ conference call with local MPs.
Both Downing Street and the Treasury said there would be no advance on the new Job Support Scheme, which pays only two-thirds of wages.
No 10 said the lowest paid would receive almost 90 per cent of their normal income because they would be eligible for top ups from Universal Credit.
But Mr Burnham said he was ready to take legal action against ministers if they tried to impose the rules.
The Tory MPs’ revolt came as Britain yesterday recorded 18,980 more coronavirus cases and 138 deaths.
Department of Health figures show daily infections have risen just eight per cent in a week from 17,540 last Thursday. Just 77 fatalities were declared last Thursday.
Sage member says PM’s Tiers are the ‘worst of all worlds’ and inflict economic damage without controlling virus
Professor Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the current base level of restrictions, which includes a 10pm curfew, were the ‘worst of all worlds’ as they inflicted economic damage while not going far enough to suppress the virus.
The director of the Wellcome Trust told the BBC’s Newscast podcast a short ‘circuit-break’ should have been introduced in September and implored ministers to ‘act’ as soon as possible.
He added that national restrictions were a better option – and making the row over the three-tier system a north-south or party political issue was ‘a very dangerous route’.
Professor Farrar also said that countries had controlled Covid-19 well so far such as South Korea and New Zealand had a ‘national consensus about the way forward’.
He added: ‘I think we’ve got to come together as a country, this fragmentation, and frankly making this either a north-south or a party political issue, that’s a very dangerous route to go on.
‘What we don’t want now is a fragmentation or confusion – one area or region or city pitched against another. I think that would be very, very damaging to public health and the country’s ability to respond.’
Although rising, the numbers are still a far cry from the darkest days of the first wave in the spring, when more than 100,000 Britons were catching the virus every day and at least 1,000 infected patients died daily.
At a press call in Manchester yesterday, Mr Burnham said: ‘Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City region and Lancashire are being set up as the canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy as an attempt to prevent the expense of what is truly needed.
‘The very least they should be offering the people of Greater Manchester who will be affected by these closures is a full and fair 80 per cent furlough for all affected workers, 80 per cent income support for people who are self-employed, and a proper compensation scheme for businesses. So far, they have not been prepared to offer that.’
Mr Burnham’s retort led ministers to humiliatingly back off of plans to force a Manchester and Lancashire lockdown.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that ‘discussions are ongoing’.
Speaking to reporters last night, Mr Hancock said: ‘The situation in the North West is severe, the number of cases is rising exponentially, the number of people in hospital with covid has doubled in just the last 12 days.
‘So I call upon local leaders to set aside this party politics and to work with us to put in place the measures that are needed in Greater Manchester, (and) across the North West, so we can deal with this virus and support people through it.’
He said now is ‘a time for people to come together so that we can control this virus’ and ‘we must act’.
Mr Burnham said chief medical officer Chris Whitty had told him that a national lockdown was the only thing ‘certain’ to reduce coronavirus cases.
‘But the Government told us this morning it is unwilling to do that because of the damage it will do to the national economy,’ he said.
‘And yet that is what they want to impose on the North West.
‘So that was our conclusion from the Number 10 meeting this morning: they are willing to try and sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try and save them elsewhere.’
Earlier, Labour’s Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was ‘unanimous fury’ among the politicians on the call with Ms Whately.
‘We want action but it has to be the right action, because we’ve lived in Tier Two for nearly three months and it’s not worked,’ she said.
Northern Ireland braces for ‘circuit breaker’: Pubs and restaurants will shut for FOUR WEEKS from 6pm
Northern Ireland is bracing for a brutal ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown from 6pm tonight, with pubs and restaurants set to close for four weeks.
Along with shutting the hospitality sector except for takeaways, schools will be closed for an extra week at half-term as part of desperate efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak.
But despite the extraordinary curbs – which Boris Johnson is fighting to avoid in England – medics have been warning First Minister Arlene Foster that the squeeze is ‘too little too late’ and still does not go far enough.
Concerns have been growing over the spike in infections in the province. Four Covid-19 linked deaths and 763 new cases of the virus were reported yesterday.
There have been 6,394 new positive cases notified in the last seven days, bringing the total to 23,878. Some 201 patients with Covid-19 being treated in hospital, with 24 in intensive care.
Wigan’s Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy said: ‘Despite repeated attempts to claim we’re divided there was total unity from Conservative and Labour Greater Manchester MPs on the call with the Minister this morning.
‘We will support evidence based interventions with adequate financial support. We will not support this chaos.’
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee and MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said the ‘case has not been made’ for a tougher lockdown.
‘There is widespread concern amongst Members of Parliament, council leaders and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, all resisting the suggestion that Tier Three should be introduced.’
However, significant movement came in shifting areas from Tier One to Tier Two on the government’s lockdown scale.
Half of England will be under heightened lockdown from the weekend after nine million Londoners were told they face tougher curbs to tackle a coronavirus surge.
Mr Johnson reviewed the proposals after they were signed off by the ‘gold command’ group including chief medical officer Chris Whitty.
Along with London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also be placed into the same category.
It means as of Saturday residents will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in bars and other venues. Socialising outdoors – including in pub and private gardens – will still be allowed within the Rule of Six.
Offices and public transport can remain open, although the government’s general advice to work from home where possible stands.
Overall, nearly 30million people – around half the population of England – will be in a raised state of lockdown.
Mr Khan has been demanding more support for the capital’s hospitality businesses that could be crippled by the shift. He warned this morning that Londoners face a ‘difficult winter ahead’, and also repeated his call for new national ‘circuit breaker’ measures alongside the curbs.
The Health Secretary told the Commons he ‘hated’ bringing in new measures, but it was the ‘only way’ to save lives. He said cases were ‘on a steep upward path’ in London.
‘Unless we suppress the virus we cannot return to the economy we had,’ he added.
In a grim message he warned: ‘Things will get worse before they get better.’
40% OF CASES IN TEENS AND 20s, PHE SAYS
Almost half of coronavirus infections are still happening in people in their teens and 20s, according to Public Health England.
Those in their late teens and early 20s appear to have fuelled the second wave if the epidemic.
Thousands of cases are being diagnosed in university students, who returned to their studies in September and notoriously live in cramped halls of residence and large households.
Working people in their 20s may also be large drivers of infection because of their active social lives.
Among 10 to 19-year-olds in England, PHE said, there are 245 cases of Covid-19 for every 100,000 people. And there are 253 cases per 100,000 in people aged 20 to 29.
Although young people are not at much risk of dying if they catch Covid-19, they can accelerate community outbreaks that spread to older people, and they may also suffer the lasting effects of ‘long Covid’.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE’s medical director, said today: ‘We’re now seeing about 40 per cent of positive cases among young adults in their late teens and early twenties, which is causing the disease to spread rapidly throughout the community and older people.
‘And while there are fewer cases among older people, they are far more likely to get seriously ill.
‘That means we are also seeing a worrying increase in people aged over 75 being admitted to hospital. We must be prepared for the number of deaths to rise rapidly as a result.
‘This picture is particularly acute in the North of England, with the North West the region worst affected.
‘I cannot stress enough how vital it is that everyone follows the guidelines as they are there to help protect you and your loved ones. Wash your hands regularly, use a face covering and keep your distance.’
Mr Khan has been pushing for the capital to be moved up from Tier One – which just means normal social distancing rules, the Rule of Six and a 10pm curfew on pubs – to Tier Two.
However, he has been angling for more funding to go alongside the curbs, and there was resistance within government, local councils and Tory MPs to treating London as a whole, with infection rates varying widely in different boroughs.
Mr Khan said: ‘Nobody wants to see more restrictions – but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners lives by myself, London Council Leaders and by ministers.
‘As part of our discussions, I’ve also made clear to the Government that we need more financial support for London’s businesses, workers and public services as we face more restrictions – and we will continue to make this case.’
Ealing has become London’s new Covid-19 hotspot, figures revealed today.
Government data shows the West London borough diagnosed 144.5 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending October 9, topping Richmond upon Thames (137.9).
Ealing’s seven-day rolling average number of weekly Covid-19 cases has jumped up to 144.5 per 100,000 people in the week ending October 9, from 132.5 on Wednesday.
Some parts of the borough are significantly harder hit than others, according to the government’s dashboard.
For example, South Ealing’s infection rate currently stands at 293.6, Southall North’s is 274.3 and Elthorne Park’s is 295.3.
The Government coronavirus dashboard reveals the borough has moved up from the third spot to the top in one day, overtaking Richmond-upon-Thames and Hackney and City of London.
Thirteen boroughs now have infection rates over 100 per 100,000 people, the equivalent of one person in every 1,000 catching the coronavirus every week.
None of the 32 boroughs had tipped the threshold before this week, according to separate Public Health England data.
The dramatic step was criticised by some London Tories.
London Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘Sadiq Khan’s constant calls for more restrictions and more lockdowns are incredibly irresponsible. It’s almost like he wants people to pay attention to anything other than his terrible record as Mayor.
‘I fully support the government’s decision to put London into Tier Two. It’s a sensible move that may help us avoid another lockdown while keeping Londoners safe.
‘To be absolutely clear, London’s economy would be hit hard by a second lockdown. So even though it’s right to keep all options on the table, we should do everything we can to avoid a second lockdown.’
Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill said the ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ for the capital was a mistake.
The senior Conservative told Sky News: ‘I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s disproportionate for the whole of London.’
The government’s data for London show that case rates have risen – although the lack of testing at the previous peak of the outbreak in March and April means the figures are not comparable. Deaths and hospitalisations have also seen an increase over recent weeks
Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged
Can I still meet friends in a pub garden? Should I cancel half-term trip to Cornwall? Your questions answered as Londoners are plunged into Tier 2 lockdown with parts of Essex, Surrey, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Derbyshire
By Mark Duell for MailOnline
Nine million people in London are set to face tougher coronavirus restrictions banning households mixing indoors – including in pubs – from 0.01am on Saturday.
And London is not the only area which will be hit with the Government’s second-harshest lockdown level at midnight tomorrow.
Residents in Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also have the new restrictions imposed on them.
Tier 2 rules includes a ban on meeting socially with friends and family indoors and weddings will be limited to 15 and funerals to 30.
Gyms, shops, schools, universities and churches will stay open.
You can find out the current alert level in your area with the Government’s postcode checker by clicking here, but note it may change this weekend.
Here, MailOnline looks at what it will mean for all regions under Tier 2 lockdown from Saturday:
Can I still go to my friends’ house on Thursday or Friday night?
Yes. Friday will be the last day when you can visit a friend’s house for now, but you must ensure no more than six people gather – and you leave before midnight.
Can I have my friends over from Saturday?
No. People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
Can I see my friends inside a pub or a restaurant?
No. You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.
This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants.
Can I meet my friends in a pub garden?
Yes. You can gather in groups of six outside at venues which are following Covid-secure guidance, including pubs, restaurants, shops, leisure and entertainment venues and places of worship.
At least one person in the group should give their contact details to the venue or check in using the official NHS Covid-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.
Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday – and not indoors
Can I see friends outside?
Yes. You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space.
When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six.
Do children count in the ‘rule of six’ outdoors?
Yes. This limit of six for meeting people outdoors includes children of any age.
Can I still meet inside with people from my support bubble?
Yes. You will still count as one household who can meet together indoors or outdoors.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household.
Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles (see below).
Is the support bubble affected by London changing tier?
No. Your support bubble is still valid despite London going into a higher tier, so you can continue to function as one household.
Can my friends visit if they are from outside London?
No. If you live in a ‘tier two’ area you also cannot meet indoors with people from outside of the area, unless exceptions apply (see final question below).
Can I go to stay at a hotel or Airbnb home within London?
Yes. You can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.
You can only stay in a private home – which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats – with members of your own household or support bubble.
You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household.
However you should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other’s rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.
Can I still go on holiday outside London?
Yes, with exceptions. You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.
Can I still go on holiday to Wales?
Probably not. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is proposing a travel ban on visits to Wales by people living in areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with high levels of Covid-19 from Friday.
He said police in Wales could use number plate technology to catch people from UK coronavirus hotspots who illegally enter the country.
Can I still go on holiday to a tier three area like Liverpool?
No. You should avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to very high local Covid alert levels.
Can I still move home or look at a house in London?
Yes. You can still move home. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can also continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.
Do I have to end my current holiday outside London if it’s with another household?
No. At the time that the new local restrictions are brought in, if you are currently on holiday with another household outside London, but are from London, and are staying in a private home and it is not reasonable for you to curtail your stay, you should finish your holiday as planned.
The Government advises that until the end of this holiday you should ‘make every effort to reduce socialising indoors outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance’.
Can I still use public transport?
Yes, but with restrictions. The Government says you may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, but you should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.
If you need to travel, the Government encourages people to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.
People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today
Do the tier two rules follow me if I travel outside my area?
Yes. The rules are based on the highest tier level out of a) where you live and b) where you are visiting.
Therefore, if you live in London, you must abide by London’s rules wherever you go.
But if you are from a tier one area and are visiting London, you must abide by the rules for London.
Can I visit my parents in an area outside of London?
Yes. However you must follow the rules applying to where you live, so you would have to meet them outside and ensure there is not a group of more than six people.
Can I still commute into London if I live in a tier one region outside the capital?
Yes. The Government says people can continue to travel into a high alert area for work, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.
Are the exceptions to the rule of six for children?
Yes. There are exceptions from legal gatherings limits for registered childcare, education or training, and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups.
This means you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies.
Who can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens?
Registered childcare providers including nannies, people in your support bubble or people in your childcare bubble.
What is the definition of a childcare bubble?
A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household.
For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.
Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare.
Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so.
Can I meet with a household from another flat inside the property where I live?
No. The Government’s definition of a household is one person living alone, or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room, sitting room or dining area.
A household can consist of a single family, more than one family or no families in the case of a group of unrelated people.
Therefore people who live in different self-contained flats cannot meet with each other.
Can I visit my grandparent in a care home?
No, with exceptions. You should not visit a care home except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life.
Will shops still be open?
Yes. Non-essential retail as well as essential stores will remain open for customers.
Will I be fined if I am caught having a meeting in a group that is illegal?
Yes. Meeting in larger groups is against the law, although there are certain exceptions (see final question).
The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups, which includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fixed penalty notice fines.
You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.
The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 – the that weddings were once again permitted
Can I attend a wedding?
Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 15 people can attend weddings or equivalent ceremonies and receptions where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and ‘taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus’.
But receptions should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other, and must not take place in private homes.
Can I attend a funeral?
Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present, but these cannot take place in private dwellings.
Where food or drink is consumed, this should be in the form of a sit down meal.
Anyone working at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception, wake or funeral is not generally counted as part of the limit.
People living outside of London in a tier one area can travel to the capital to attend an event, but they must not meet with another household indoors.
Can I still go to church?
Yes. You can still attend places of worship for a service in London. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.
Can I attend an indoor exercise class?
Yes, with restrictions. Indoor exercise classes and other activity groups can only continue provided that households or support bubbles do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities must not go ahead.
There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.
Can I still take place in sports activities outdoors?
Yes. In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.
Can I still have a street party?
Yes, but as long as it is outside and no more six people gather, following Covid restrictions.
Can a tradesperson come into my house?
Yes. A tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the rules if they are there for work.
What if I am clinically vulnerable?
The Government advises that those aged 70 or over, pregnant women or those with an underlying health condition can go outside as much as they like but ‘should still try to keep your overall social interactions low’.
Should I share a car with someone from outside my household?
No, in most cases. The Government says it is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context.
So you should avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing.
Does the 10pm curfew still apply to pubs and restaurants?
Yes. Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are still required to close between 10pm and 5am.
Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through. Orders must be made via phone, online or by post.
A group of women carry their drinks in London’s Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month
Are hospitality venues at motorway services still exempt from the curfew?
Yes. Hospitality venues in ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas do not need to close at 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time.
Can I still go to work in the office?
Yes, with exceptions. The Government advises that ‘office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter’.
It adds: ‘Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.’
Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.
The Government also says that ‘anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work’.
Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should still work from home wherever possible.
Can I still go to school or college?
Yes. The Government says it has ‘prioritised ensuring all children can attend school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians’.
Can I still go to university?
Yes. Universities have welcomed students back and students are allowed to move home and travel to go there.
However those in tier two areas must not move backward and forward between their permanent home and term time address during term time – subject to limited exemptions.
Students living at their university term time address in a high alert level area should follow the same guidance on meeting other people and travel as others in that area.
Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown
Can I commute into London or another high alert level area to go to university?
Yes. Commuter students – defined as those who live at a family home and travel to/from university each day – should be able to continue to travel to/from their university as required, for education purposes.
However, you must not meet people you do not live with in their home inside the area, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble
You can also not host people you do not live with in your home, if they live in the affected area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble
You must also not meet people you do not live with in their student halls, whether inside or outside of the area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble.
If you move out of, or currently live outside of, an affected area you should not host people you do not live with in your home or student halls if they live in a high alert level area, unless they’re in your household, support bubble or childcare bubble.
Will Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph go ahead?
Yes, with restrictions. Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph on November 8 will take place but will be closed to the public.
Crowds will not be allowed to go to the service and will be asked to mark the day at home. The usual Royal British Legion march past has also been cancelled.
It is expected that members of the Royal Family and dignitaries will still attend to lay wreaths to remember the fallen.
What are the exceptions on people from different households gathering?
- in a legally permitted support bubble or childcare bubble
- for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services
- for registered childcare, education or training
- for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
- for birth partners
- to see someone who is dying
- to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
- to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
- to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
- to facilitate a house move
- for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
- for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport, and licensed outdoor physical activity
- indoor organised team sports for disabled people, and youth sport
- support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
- protests – if organised in compliance with Covid-secure guidance
How long will the rules be in place?
The Government must review which areas are subjected to the rules at least once every 14 days, with the first due to be carried out by October 28.
The restrictions themselves must be reviewed every 28 days, with the first due to be carried out by November 11. The rules themselves expire in six months.