The UK government said it would on Monday announced a new three-tier lockdown system in England, in what was formerly called “Local COVID Alert Levels”.
This new system will place different parts of the country on different categories of lockdown restrictions depending on the number of cases each region faces. With the new system, areas with the highest level of coronavirus cases are expected to meet with the most stringent restrictions.
Although the UK Prime Minister is yet to set out the modalities for each tier of the new system, it is understood that the very top tier will witness drastic measures that will involve the closure of pubs and restaurants, bookmakers, and a ban on indoor and outdoor family gatherings. People outside of their residential areas may not be allowed to come into or even stay the night in their visiting areas.
However, under the top tier, schools and universities are expected to remain open, although travel will be restricted for a person beyond their area except in cases where they’re resuming for work or school.
Liverpool, one of the coronavirus hardest-hit areas in England, is expected to be placed in the top tier, alongside places like Newcastle and Manchester. The third-tier restriction is expected to last for up to a month before it will be subjected to a review.
Europe, including the UK, has witnessed a sudden hike in the number of coronavirus cases over the last few weeks. Observers said this increase is caused largely by the reopening of the economy, including schools and businesses which have since resumed. The UK is witnessing its highest coronavirus cases in months, CBS News reports.
With the upcoming flu season in the coming weeks, health experts fear that hospitals in the UK are about to get overwhelmed, as was the case in March this year during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when UK hospitals could not accommodate more patients. The UK currently has the highest number of fatalities arising from the coronavirus – this figure now stands at 42,825. Sixty-five deaths on Sunday added to this total number.
Meanwhile, local leaders in the country, especially in Northern England, expressed their anger over what they deemed an inadequate wage support scheme. As part of the government’s job support scheme, companies across the UK will be required to be shut down over the winter period as part of the local and national restrictions. They will get two-thirds of their employees’ salaries up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. However, mayors are saying this is not enough and may not even impact on people whose businesses were indirectly affected, such as bars and drink suppliers.