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Covid-19: Tougher Covid rules begin for millions in UK

Harsher Covid restrictions now apply to millions more people, as rule changes come into force across the UK.

Around six million people in east and south-east England have gone into tier four, England’s highest Covid level – which includes a “stay at home” order.

Lockdowns have also started in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and measures have been reimposed in Wales after being eased for Christmas.

It comes after official UK coronavirus deaths passed 70,000 on Christmas Day.

The toughest measures – which mean the closure of all non-essential shops, as well as hairdressers, swimming pools and gyms – now apply to around 24 million people in England, more than 40% of the population.

The whole of Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, as well Essex, Waverley in Surrey, and all of Hampshire with the exception of the New Forest, are now in tier four.

Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire, as well as Cheshire and Warrington, have all moved up to tier three. Meanwhile, Cornwall and Herefordshire have moved from tier one to tier two.

Daily cases chart

In Scotland – which operates under a different tier system – level four lockdown measures have come into force across the mainland for three weeks. Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and other island communities are in level three.

And in Northern Ireland, a six-week lockdown has begun. The first week, until 2 January, has stricter restrictions, including essential shops closing at 20:00 GMT and no sport.

For the first week, people are also banned from meeting indoors or outdoors between 20:00 and 06:00.

NI police have legally-enforceable powers to tell anyone out during those hours to return home, unless they have a “reasonable excuse”, such as being a key worker or having caring responsibilities.

Meanwhile, France has confirmed the first case in the country of the more contagious coronavirus variant identified in the UK. The French health ministry said the person was a French citizen in the central town of Tours who had arrived from London on 19 December.

The appearance of the new coronavirus variant in England triggered travel curbs with dozens of countries.

On Christmas Day, the Queen delivered a heartfelt message of hope to the country in her TV address, praising the “indomitable spirit” of those who have risen “magnificently” to the challenges of the pandemic.

She said what many people want “for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand” and that “even on the darkest nights there is hope in the new dawn”.


Comments (3)

  1. May almighty God protect us from this deadly virus, the first wave of the virus still stir fear in people up till nw ……
    When hoping the virus is abt to gone another scene just started…..
    Stay safe nd take precaution bcs precaution is better than cure as the saying goes!!!

  2. This is getting more serious by the day ooh

  3. Na wa ooh

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