The health secretary insisted the ‘end is in sight’ for the pandemic as he revealed millions will face the strictest coronavirus restrictions.
On December 2 everywhere will be plunged back into a regionalised new tier system – ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ – similar to before the second lockdown, but with harsher restrictions.
Matt Hancock told the Commons: ‘The less any one person passes on the disease the faster we can get this disease under control together and that is on all of us.
‘Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go so we must all dig deep.
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‘The end is in sight, we mustn’t give up now, we must follow these new rules and make sure that our actions today will save lives in future.’
The majority of the nation has been put under tier two restrictions, with only three select rural areas – the Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall – being allowed to follow the softer tier one rules.
You can see what tier your area is in by looking at the Government’s online postcode checker.
‘Thanks to the shared sacrifice of everyone in recent weeks, in following the national restrictions, we have been able to start to bring the virus back under control and slow its growth, easing some of the pressure on the NHS,’ Mr Hancock added.
‘Cases are down by 19% from a week ago and daily hospital admissions have fallen 7% in the last week.
‘January and February are always difficult months for the NHS so it is vital we safeguard the gains we made.’
It comes after Boris Johnson warned most areas ‘at least temporarily’ will be in the top two tiers.
The Prime Minister will hold a televised press conference, expected around 5pm this evening, addressing the nation about the new tiers.
It will be his first in-person appearance for more than two weeks, after he had to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
He outlined the ‘Covid winter plan’ in the Commons on Monday to prepare the country for a possible temporary relaxation of rules over Christmas.
Ministers are set to review the measures on December 16 and areas which are successfully lowering transmission rates could be dropped down a tier ahead of Christmas.
In a united approach towards the festive season, all four UK nations will allow three households to form an ‘exclusive bubble’ over five days so families can see one another.
How the new tiers will work
In tier one, people are being encouraged to work from home wherever possible, and the ‘rule of six’ applies to all gatherings inside and outside, apart from a few very limited exceptions.
In tier two alcohol may only be served in hospitality settings as part of a ‘substantial meal’ – a rule which proved controversial when tiers were first introduced before the second lockdown.
In tier three indoor entertainment, hotels, and other accommodation will have to close along with all forms of hospitality – except for delivery and takeaways.
Under all areas shops, personal care, educational establishments, gyms and leisure centres will remain open.
Areas in tier three will be offered a six-week surge in community testing, which may allow people who test negative to be given more freedom.
Check your tier
The postcode checker allowing you to see which tier your area falls into has now launched on the Government’s website.
You can search for the restrictions in your area as well as others by entering the relevant postcode when prompted.
But the postcode checker has already crashed after too many people have attempted to check their area on the website this morning.
The NHS Covid-19 app can also tell you what the current risk level is according to your postcode, so it will change from December 2.
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