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World England's three-tier system comes into force, but PM warned measures don't go far enough

10:45  14 october  2020
10:45  14 october  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

Tougher restrictions for London 'inevitable' in 'next few days'

  Tougher restrictions for London 'inevitable' in 'next few days' It is "inevitable" that London will pass a "trigger point" to enter tougher coronavirus restrictions in the "next few days", Sadiq Khan has told Sky News. © Imagebridge The capital is currently in Tier 1 of the government's three-tier system of restrictions "All the indicators I have, hospital admissions, ICU occupancy, the numbers of older people with cases, the prevalence of the disease, the positivity are all going the wrong direction," the London mayor said.

England's new three-tier system for localised coronavirus restrictions has come into force today - but the prime minister is already under growing pressure to take even further action.

From midnight, the country was split into three COVID-19 alert levels - "medium", "high" and "very high".

Liverpool City Region is in the top tier, with bars and pubs forced to shut if they cannot operate as restaurants. Residents have also been banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens.

Three-tier Covid restrictions begin in England

  Three-tier Covid restrictions begin in England Most of the country is in the lowest tier but millions in the North and the Midlands face extra curbs.Most of the country is in the lowest tier - medium - but millions of people in the North and the Midlands face extra curbs on households mixing.

Last night, videos on social media showed groups of people enjoying a final night out in the city before the new restrictions came into force - with Merseyside Police confirming to Sky News that a "large crowd" had to be dispersed.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to take greater action to slow the spread of COVID-19 © Reuters Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to take greater action to slow the spread of COVID-19

Discussions are going to be held on whether Greater Manchester and Lancashire should be reclassified to also join the top tier of restrictions, amid concern at rising coronavirus infection rates across the North West.

Ahead of those talks, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham accused the government of "piling the pressure on" without providing an adequate package of economic support.

London to move into Tier 2 lockdown - millions to be banned from mixing indoors

  London to move into Tier 2 lockdown - millions to be banned from mixing indoors London will face Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from Saturday. It means millions in the capital will be banned from meeting people from other households indoors, whether that's in their home or in a pub.Londoners have also been advised to avoid public transport and reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. © Thomson Reuters People walk during the morning rush hour in the Canary Wharf amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London Britain, October 15, 2020.

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More on coronavirus:

Download the Microsoft News app for full coverage of the crisis

Latest social rules for all three tiers explained (Mirror)

'PM isn't taking Covid seriously anymore' (The Independent)

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He claimed the possible reclassification of the region "risks confusing people" so soon after Greater Manchester was placed in Tier 2 of the new system of localised restrictions.

Mr Johnson saw MPs approve the new three-tier system on Tuesday night, but he was also hit with a dual challenge from both Labour and his own Conservative MPs.

Gallery: Coronavirus outbreak around the world (Photo Services)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is now demanding that the prime minister puts England into a two to three-week "circuit breaker" lockdown to coincide with October half-term - with the support of the Liberal Democrats.

This would "break the cycle" of COVID-19 transmission across the country, Sir Keir said.

Late last night, Northern Ireland announced that it plans to impose a "circuit breaker" lockdown for four weeks - with schools set to close for two of them.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he is "very actively" considering a "short, sharp intervention" - and Mr Johnson is coming under pressure to consider similar measures in England.

A pedestrian shelters from the rain as she crosses the road with a scooter in east London on October 13, 2020. - Britain's unemployment rate has jumped to 4.5 percent as the coronavirus pandemic continues to destroy jobs, official data showed on October 13. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images) A pedestrian shelters from the rain as she crosses the road with a scooter in east London on October 13, 2020. - Britain's unemployment rate has jumped to 4.5 percent as the coronavirus pandemic continues to destroy jobs, official data showed on October 13. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Johnson will face Sir Keir in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions later, when the Labour leader will likely accuse the government of failing to follow the recommendations of scientists for nationwide action.

Two members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) are due to release a joint paper that suggests thousands of COVID-19 deaths could be avoided before Christmas if a circuit breaker lockdown is imposed over half-term.

Another SAGE member, Sir Jeremy Farrar - director of the Wellcome Trust - described the government's current strategy of enhanced localised measures as the "worst of all worlds" as it offers "the economic damage of more restrictions without the gain of a reduction in transmission".

In a sign of Downing Street's anger at Sir Keir over his call for greater action, a senior government source branded the Labour leader a "shameless opportunist" and accused him of "playing political games in the middle of a global pandemic".

Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer gestures as he leaves the Garden Museum, south London on October 13, 2020, after holding a press conference in response to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson statement on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and the increase in the number of coronavirus cases. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images) Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer gestures as he leaves the Garden Museum, south London on October 13, 2020, after holding a press conference in response to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson statement on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and the increase in the number of coronavirus cases. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

But while the prime minister is now facing a more hostile opposition to his handling of the coronavirus crisis, Mr Johnson has also been delivered a warning shot by his own Tory backbenchers.

A total of 44 Conservative MPs opposed the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants in England in a House of Commons vote on Tuesday night - the biggest Tory rebellion that Mr Johnson has faced since he became prime minister.

The rebel group included Bolton West MP Chris Green, who quit as a junior ministerial aide minutes before the vote.

In his resignation letter to the prime minister, Mr Green said the local lockdown in his constituency had failed and "the attempted cure is worse than the disease".

Mr Johnson had addressed Conservative backbenchers via Zoom before Tuesday's vote.

It was reported that the prime minister used the video call to joke that many people would welcome the "rule of six" for social gatherings as they will be able to avoid their in-laws at Christmas.

"Les Dawson heading up the COVID-19 response was not the 2020 I was expecting," said Labour shadow minister Jess Phillips in her condemnation of Mr Johnson's reported remarks.

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Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

Greater Manchester leaders told 'door is open' for further talks on Tier 3 support .
Local leaders in Greater Manchester have been told that the "door is open" for further talks, despite the prime minister imposing Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions on the region. Boris Johnson announced that tougher COVID-19 restrictions will be introduced in Greater Manchester from Friday.Moving into Tier 3 means pubs and bars in Greater Manchester will be closed, unless they serve substantial meals, while betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres and soft play areas will also shut.

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