National lockdown demanded by Birmingham council leader – as Tees Valley poised to enter Tier 3


A BIRMINGHAM council leader has demanded a national lockdown as Tees Valley is set to be the next area to be plunged into Tier 3.

Nearly a fifth of England – roughly 11 million people – will be living under the most drastic lockdown rules as both Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire were given Tier 3 restrictions last night.

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Tees Valley is set to be thrown into Tier 3 lockdown

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Tees Valley is set to be thrown into Tier 3 lockdownCredit: PA:Press Association

 

Tens of millions more Brits are living under Tier 2 measures which ban mixing with households indoors.

New Tier 3 rules for Tees Valley would mean pubs and bars which don’t serve food would have to close.

And other venues such as casinos, betting shops, beauty salons and soft play areas could also have to shut.

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward has demanded the Government cave to pressure and introduce a national lockdown.

Councillor Ward said: “The problem is the tier system just isn’t working.

“Areas in Tier 3 are still seeing rising cases.”

He added: “I am of the opinion England needs to follow France, Germany and Wales with a national circuit-breaker as quickly as possible.

“We must not repeat the mistake of last March in not moving soon enough.”

“The Government must reconsider its position and agree to a circuit-breaker and put the right support in place for jobs and businesses.”

Labour has been demanding a national circuit breaker lockdown since it was revealed in the Government’s top Sage scientists had said it would help wind back the clock on infections by as much as 28 days.

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But Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to abandon his three tiered regional lockdown and mounted a fierce defence of it, saying the countries who are doing best have local restrictions.

This week both France and Germany were thrown into drastic national lockdown measures to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.

Fresh documents from Sage have revealed the scientists think a national lockdown is the only way to save Christmas.

They warned every local authority could be in Tier 3 by December 17.

Earlier this week, a “reasonable worst case scenario” by Sage laid out a bleak vision of winter with 85,000 deaths.

And there could be lockdown measures in place until March.

Earlier today, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned Brits could be in for a French-style lockdown if the regional approach cannot stop spiralling numbers.

Tees Valley is expected to be the latest area to give the toughest coronavirus restrictions, as infection rates in Stockton-on-Tees hit 461.6 cases per 100,000 – up from 357 per 100,000 just a week before.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill tweeted today: “Local leaders are thrashing out a package for the Tees Valley Region right now.

“MPs will be informed of the outcome later today but we are moving towards Tier 3.”

But Mr Hill later deleted his tweet.

The Tees Valley has previously been on the Government’s list of areas to go on Tier 3 – but discussions were put on hold after coronavirus cases fell.

Redcar and Cleveland Council leader Mary Lanigan said yesterday the Government was trying to push Tees Valley into the highest Covid alert level.

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But she said negotiations on a financial package had not finished.

Yesterday another 16 areas were thrown into Tier 2, as extra restrictions spread throughout the country.

Nottinghamshire entered Tier 3 this morning, and West Yorkshire will be put on “very high” Covid alert from Monday.

It means there are just over 11 million people in Tier 3 – almost 20 per cent of the population.

If Tees Valley is given the top Covid alert level, it will take that number to 12 million.

When asked about the prospect of a UK national lockdown, the Mr Raab told Radio 4 today: “France of course tried a localised approach and then fell back on a national approach.

“What I think that shows, Germany is the same, how important it is that we all rally together at local level through to national level… Communities, local leaders, national leaders, and really lean in to the localised focus approach.

“(It’s) the most effective way to tackle the virus and avoid the blanket approach, which I don’t think would be in the best interest of this country, and which we are striving to avoid.”

 

French-style national lockdown could be needed it local Tier system fails, admits Dominic Raab





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