No ‘green light’ for Norfolk, as PM outlines three-tier Covid-19 restrictions
- Credit: PA
Restrictions will remain in place in Norfolk as Boris Johnson has formally unveiled a new three-tier coronavirus restriction system.
England will be placed into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels under the new restrictions, the prime minister said in a statement in the House of Commons
Mr Johnson told MPs that the coming weeks and months would “test the mettle” of the country as it faced a second wave of Covid-19 cases.
A postcode checker will be launched on the Government’s website to advise people what guidance applies to their area.
Each local authority area will be placed in a local Covid alert level by the end of Monday, Downing Street said.
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The government has said the new system could not be called a traffic light system because there’s “no green light” - even areas including Norfolk that have relatively few coronavirus cases and lower infection rates will see restrictions remain in place.
MORE: ‘North Norfolk is not Manchester’ - how three-tier coronavirus restrictions would workAreas listed as medium will be subject to the same rules as those which currently apply across the country, such as the rule of six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.
Boris Johnson warned that there are more people in hospital with coronavirus than when the country first went into lockdown and that deaths are rising.
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He told the commons: “This morning, the deputy chief medical officer set out the stark reality of the second wave of this virus.
“The number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks, there are now more people in hospital with Covid than when we went into lockdown on March 23 and deaths are already rising.”
In the high alert level, which will apply to most of the areas already subject to restrictions, household mixing will be banned indoors. Support bubbles will still be permitted, however.
The very high alert level will apply to areas causing the most concern, and social mixing will be prohibited indoors and in private gardens.
Pubs and bars will be closed in the very high alert level areas unless they can operate as a restaurant. People will also be advised against travel in and out of the areas.
Local leaders will help determine whether other venues should be closed - such as gyms or casinos in very high alert level areas. A four-week sunset clause will apply to the restrictions.
Schools, non-essential retail and universities will remain open in all levels.
Mr Johnson said that he does not believe a full lockdown would be the right course.
He said: “And of course, there are those who say that on that logic, we should go back into a full national lockdown of indefinite duration, closing schools and businesses, telling people again to stay at home as we did in March. Once again shattering our lives and our society.
MORE: Explained - What is behind Norwich’s coronavirus case rise?“We would not only be depriving our children of their education, we would do such damage to our economy as to erode our long-term ability to fund the NHS and other crucial public services.
“And on the other side of the argument, there are those who think that the patience of the public is now exhausted, that we should abandon the fight against Covid, stand aside, let nature take her course and call a halt to these repressions of liberty.”
He said the R value was already being suppressed to “well below” its natural level, but said measures needed to go further as he outlined a simplification of the rules.
Mr Johnson said around £1 billion of “new financial support” will be provided to local authorities in England, adding in the Commons: “For very high areas, we will give further financial support for local test and trace and local enforcement - and assistance from the armed forces, not for enforcement but rather to support local services if desired in the local area.”
MPs will debate and vote on the measures on Tuesday and the new tiered system will come into effect on Wednesday.