The Daily Star’s FREE newsletter is spectacular! Sign up today for the best stories straight to your inbox
Boris Johnson is set to decide the UK's new Tiers system tonight with a new lockdown seemingly on the horizon.
There will be an announcement tomorrow which could see two thirds of people in England go into Tier 4 in a bid to get on top of the rising coronavirus infection rate.
Mr Johnson will chair a meeting of the "Covid-O" committee ahead of Health Secretary Matt Hancock's announcement on Wednesday.
Whitehall sources claim "sizeable chunks" of the Midlands and the North of England will be placed into Tier 4 with government ministers becoming increasingly concerned over the spread of the highly infectious new Covid-19 strain.
They have not ruled out implementing an even stricter Tier 5 lockdown, which would see schools shut down, with experts claiming the current restrictions may not be enough to get on top of the current wave of the pandemic.
But Tier 4 restrictions are said to be more likely in the more immediate future.
A health official said: "Coronavirus cases are rising across the country fuelled by the new variant, which has spread far beyond London and the South-East.
"I would expect more than half of England to move into Tier 4, but it wouldn't surprise me if two thirds end up in the top tier.
"There is also real concern about the South African variant which seems to be spreading fast. Unfortunately, more action is needed to combat rising cases across the board."
Government experts believe the new variant is up to 70% more contagious than the original coronavirus strain.
It saw around 20 million in England placed into a Tier 4 lockdown days before Christmas, ruining festive plans for millions of families.
Tier 4 restrictions urge people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. It also bans people from meeting others indoors.
Around 24 million are now under a Tier 4 lockdown – more than 40% of England's population – before the latest government announcement.
An expert warned a third national lockdown is needed to prevent a "catastrophe" with England's hospitals being overrun with Covid-19 patients.
Wards are dealing with more patients than during the devastating first peak of the virus in April.
Professor Andrew Hayward, an expert in infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London, said: "I think we are entering a very dangerous new phase of the pandemic and we're going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February.
"A 50% increase in transmissibility means that the previous levels of restrictions that worked before won't work now, and so Tier 4 restrictions are likely to be necessary or even higher than that.
"I think we're really looking at a situation where we're moving into near-lockdown, but we've got to learn the lessons from the first lockdown."
- Boris Johnson
Source: Read Full Article