New Coronavirus Strain Creates Havoc In UK; Govt Imposes Strict Tier System Restrictions

As England throws up a scare for the rest of the world, after a new strain of Coronavirus was discovered there, it is time for them to enter a new phase of lockdown and restrictions.

Apart from the UK, the whole of Wales has entered a lockdown and mainland Scotland will begin from 00:01 on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that the new mutant strain of the Coronavirus is “out of control” and suggested parts of England will be stuck in the new restrictive tiers. The whole of Britain is broken up into tiers depending upon the severity of the spread of the pandemic.

UK PM Boris Johnson (file image)

More than 16 million Britons are now required to stay at home as a lockdown came into force on Sunday in London and southeast England. With Christmas round the corner, it is indeed going to be a unique experience for Britain, as the government has now refused to relax Christmas rules on socialising.

However, World Health Organisation officials on Monday said that the Coronavirus is mutating “at a much slower rate” than seasonal influenza, even as officials in the U.K. announced this weekend that a new mutation of the virus is allowing it to spread more easily.

Also Read: Travel Enthusiasts Opt For Virtual Tourism Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

How are the tiers decided?
The decision to decide tiering for a particular area is based on the following criteria –
Total number of COVID cases
The number of cases in over-60s age group
The rate at which cases are rising or falling
The proportion of test results coming back as positive
Pressure on NHS

Rules across the four tiers are as follows:

Tier One:
These areas have the minimum restrictions –
The rule of six will apply indoors and outdoors.
Spectator sports can resume with a crowd of 50% of capacity, or 4,000 spectators, whichever is smaller.
Christmas Day bubbles cannot include anyone from tier four.
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Herefordshire are currently in tier one.

File Image

Tier Two:
You can’t mix indoors with anyone except members of your household or bubble.
You can meet in a group of maximum six, in either a private garden or public place.
Shops, gyms and personal care services can open and function.
Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals.
Pubs and restaurants must shut at 23:00 GMT, with last orders at 22:00.
Sports events in stadiums can be attended by up to 2,000 spectators, or 50% capacity (whichever is smaller).
Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can take place (with restrictions).
Non-essential foreign travel is allowed.
People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas.
Christmas Day bubbles cannot include anyone from tier four.

Tier Three:
You can meet in a group of maximum six people in outdoor spaces, such as parks, beaches or countryside.
Shops, gyms and personal care services will remain open.
Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants to remain closed, except for takeaway and delivery.
Collective worship can take place with no mixing outside of bubbles.
Small wedding ceremonies can take place.
Bowling alleys and cinemas to be closed.
Christmas Day bubbles cannot include anyone in tier four.

Representational

Tier Four:
All current tier three locations across London and south-east England have moved into tier four. The government has asked people to remember the rule – Hands. Face. Space.

• hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
• face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
• space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

Some of the main areas are – Greater London, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex , Peterborough.

Restrictions –
Residents to stay at home, unless absolutely necessary like work or education.
Non-essential retail like hairdressers, nail bars, indoor entertainment venues, Gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts and dance studios will remain close.
No Christmas Day bubbles (mixing with close family, outside of the house/family you live in) will be allowed.
People cannot leave tier four areas or travel abroad, except in limited circumstances (including work and education).
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not allowed.

Exceptions –
People can meet one other person from another household in an open public space.
Essential buying such as food and medicine.
Outdoor pools, playgrounds, sports courts, golf courses and horse riding centres can stay open.
Communal religious worship.

Apart from this, even Wales has entered a new national lockdown.
The level four measures were originally meant to come into force from 28 December, after Christmas, but have been brought forward due to the rising COVID-19 numbers and the new strain.

 

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