In Review: Tier 4, Tier 5 and lockdown 3: what do the coming months look like for England?
As the year comes to a close, we were hoping we’d be leaving Covid-19 behind. But the new mutant Covid strain is causing chaos across the country and has caused panic around the globe.
In these unprecedented times, we’re looking at what’s ahead for England as scientists call for a third national lockdown, talks of a new tier 5 and an upcoming review on the current tier system – what will the first few weeks of 2021 look like.
Given that there is absolutely no sign of the government before tomorrow’s “review date for tiers”, you have to wonder if the govt’s entire plan for this pandemic is “we’ll keep things under review”. I’ll be talking to @bbc5live ~midday today about this plan 4 schools. Join me!— Dr Zubaida Haque (@Zubhaque) December 29, 2020
#Tier5 is a full #lockdown just like in spring, im trying to take a few days out but #Tier5 being discussed in NO10 today is alarming. @BorisJohnson has 2 trillion + of debt on his watch, Test & Trace is still not fit for purpose, and #BrexitRealty is days away.— MI6 ROGUE👥 (@mi6rogue) December 28, 2020
In this featured news stories we will be taking a deeper look into four main headlines that have dominated the papers about how the restrictions will unfold and how the media is reporting on the uncertainty.
‘Worried’ scientists calling for third England lockdown right now
According to an article by kent live, scientists are calling for a third national lockdown in England to be put in place immediately in the face of the growing cases of Covid-19.
Independent Sage is going one step further and wants the entire country to be moved into Tier 4 – the strictest of the regional lockdowns.
Dr Zubaida Haque, from the group, questioned why the Government hadn’t put the entire country into Tier 4 on twitter.
Dr Haque tweeted: “Given that we surpassed 70,000 COVID19 deaths in UK on Christmas Day, and there are now more patients with coronavirus in hospital than at any point in the pandemic, why hasn’t the government implemented #tier4 restrictions everywhere in the UK? @IndependentSage are very worried.
“Given the crisis situation we’re in with the highest number of daily deaths with #COVID19 in 2nd wave, with 1000’s more likely to be infected because of relaxation of rules in tier 1-3 on Christmas Day AND failed govt’s test & trace system, we need #tier4 everywhere now to save lives.”
England at risk
24 parts of England at risk of going into Tier 4
Wales Online reports England’s tier restrictions will be under review again this week.
In a few days even more areas could be placed under the toughest tier rules, with Michael Gove not ruling out a third national lockdown.
London and most of the South East and the East are currently under strict Tier 4 measures, with people urged to stay at home, and all shops and hospitality closed.
Mirror Online analysis of latest coronavirus infection rates has found 24 areas in Tier 2 and 3 with infection rates above 300 cases per 100,000 people, meaning they are in line for the tightest of restrictions.
The current tier restrictions are being reviewed on December 30.
What will tier 5 look like?
SHUT DOWN What would a ‘Tier 5’ lockdown look like?
The Sun says with the daily infection rate continuing to climb, many are now speculating if a Tier 5 is on the horizon – but what rules would be in place for this level?
It’s not certain what “Tier 5” would entail – or if restrictions tougher than the current Tier 4 will be put in place.
However, government scientists have reportedly told Boris Johnson he needs to implement stricter measures to stop the virus from spiralling out of control.
There is no suggestion it would be called “Tier 5”, but the measures that are being called for go further than the current Tier 4 ones.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has told the PM that because of the new faster-spreading variant of the virus, the R rate would surge above 1 in January, it has been reported.
A senior Whitehall source told the Express: “We are ruling nothing out, the new strain is of serious concern. Tier 4 appears to not be strong enough.”
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick also acknowledged that “it may be necessary to take further action” to stop rising infection levels.
Mutant strain chaos
Stricter Tier 5 for England in the pipeline to tackle new Covid strain
Bristol Live says Tier 5 is on the horizon as the country struggles with the new mutant covid strain.
The dramatic rise of cases has prompted scientists to call for a new Tier 5, which would include the closure of secondary schools, reports Hull Live.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is reported by Politico to be pushing for the new measures as they suggest a lockdown similar to the one in November would not be enough to put the brakes on the new strain of coronavirus
Micheal Gove told the BBC: “We review which tiers parts of the country should be in on the basis of scientific evidence.
“The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) will be making a recommendation to ministers, but I can’t preempt that because it obviously has to be a judgment based on the medical situation.
“As you quite rightly point out, the NHS is under pressure and these are difficult months ahead.”
What are the papers saying?
Doctors raise alarm over ‘dire’ situation in NHS as Covid cases rise – The Guardian
Covid-19: Health workers ‘back in eye of storm’, says NHS chief – BBC News
Covid vaccine scam: Fake NHS appointment texts are being used by scammers to con people out of money – The Sun
NHS 111 calls in St Helens halved since beginning of coronavirus pandemic – St Helens Star
NHS Nightingale London still ‘on standby’ as patient numbers pass April peak – Romford Recorder
The Mutant strain
6 Who Arrived In India Test Positive For UK Mutant Strain – NDTV
Fauci: Mutant coronavirus strain must be taken ‘very seriously’ – The Hill
New Covid strain: how dangerous is it, and could it hamper a vaccine? – The Telegraph
‘Out of control’ mutant coronavirus strain from Kent now found in 10 other countries – Mirror
Canada confirms first two cases of mutant Covid strain from UK in couple with ‘no known travel history or exposure’ – The Sun
The government will next review the tier system on the 30th December.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Muscle or body aches.
- New loss of taste or smell.
- Sore throat.