Boris Johnson has announced in a press conference today the immediate upgrade in restrictions to a new Tier 4 category affecting London and the South East.
The new Tier follows just days after Tier 3 restrictions were implemented in London and various parts of South East England. The new Tier 4 category is being implemented following an alarming increase in infections and hospitalisations that are being caused by a new variant of the virus.
In today’s announcement, the Prime Minster also said that people in Tier 4 regions would not be able to leave those areas with shops and facilities closing except for essentials.
The new restrictions will be similar to those in November’s national lockdown according to the Prime Minister and will be implemented on Sunday morning.
The new variant of the virus, first estimated to have mutated in September, is more aggressive in its spread, with up to 70% faster transmission according to the latest scientific data. This has placed emphasis on the UK’s need to upgrade its Tiering system to allow further restrictions.
Also announced in today’s conference was increased restrictions for households, which would not be able to mix over the Christmas period except on Christmas Day. Support bubbles however would continue to be allowed for vulnerable people including those with mental health ailments.
The news of a new Tier 4 lockdown is another blow to retail and other businesses including hairdressers and shops that have faced acute uncertainty during the course of the pandemic.
It is unclear whether other regions will also be added to the Tier 4 restrictions and an announcement on which areas will be affected will be made today.