According to modelling from government scientists reportedly seen by The Sun, all of England could be placed under Tier 3 lockdown rules before Christmas.
Previously, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said that the government is trying its “absolute best to try to make sure we can get life back to as close to normal as possible for Christmas,” but also warned that this would depend on the ability of the public to follow Covid-19 guidelines.
What did the scientists say?
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned that, by Christmas, virus rates all over England would surpass the levels of infections already seen in areas placed in Tier 3.
The Sun says it learned that the latest government modelling, overseen by chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance, shows that more than 25,000 people will be in hospital with the virus by the end of November. This is a higher figure than the previous peak in spring.
Professor John Edmunds, SAGE member, said last week, “The only way that we can have a relatively safe and normal Christmas is if we take radical action now to reduce incidence - at the very least in high incidence areas - and keep the incidence low across the country by implementing a package of measures to reduce social contacts.
“The notion that we can carry on as we are and have a Christmas that we can celebrate normally with friends and family is wishful thinking in the extreme.”
Which locations are currently in Tier 3?
These are the locations that are under Tier 3 restrictions at the time of writing, according to the government website.
Blackburn with DarwenBlackpoolBurnleyChorleyFyldeHyndburnLancasterPendlePrestonRibble ValleyRossendaleSouth RibbleWest LancashireWyre
What are the Tier 3 rules?
Tier 3, also known as the ‘very high’ Covid-19 alert level, is implemented in areas with extreme levels of infection which therefore require tighter restrictions.
The government has introduced a baseline of lockdown measures for these areas, however local authorities are able to implement further requirements where necessary.
The government baseline measures are:
You cannot socialise with anyone you don’t live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed eventsYou must not socialise in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space such as a park or bench, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venuePubs and bars must close; they can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal, and they may only serve alcohol as part of such a mealSchools, colleges and universities will remain openPlaces and worship remain open, but household mixing is not permittedWeddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees; however, wedding receptions are not permittedExercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors - these will only be allowed indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they don’t live with or have a support bubble with; there are exceptions for supervised activities for under-18s, and disability sportYou should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level area you are in, or entering a very high alert level, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you were travelling through as part of a longer journeyYou should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you were a resident in a very high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if you are a resident elsewhere