Millions of people across England are today awaiting the results of the latest tier review.
Much of the country is under the new and most severe Tier 4 restrictions, in which non-essential businesses are closed, outdoor socialising is strictly limited and overnight stays away from home are not allowed.
24million people – 43% of the population – are currently living under Tier 4 restrictions – complete with “stay at home order” – which was created in response to the highly contagious new strand of coronavirus.
Only one part of England is enjoying the least restrictive Tier 1 rules going into Wednesday’s review, and that’s the Isles of Scilly.
When is the next tier review?
Places will move up or down depending on how they’re coping with the virus.
Although the official reviews are every two weeks, the government can decide to move places from one tier to another before the official review date, although that’s not expected to happen this week.
How are the tiers decided?
The government reviews the tier system on a fortnightly basis, using a number of methods to decide how well areas are coping with Covid-19.
- How quickly cases are falling or rising and what percentage of people tested are positive
- Case rates in the population, with particular focus in people aged over 60
- How well local NHS services can cope, including current and projected Covid bed occupancy and daily hospital admissions
Another national lockdown?
The government has not yet said if there will be a third national lockdown, but has also refused to rule one out.
Speaking on December 18, Mr Johnson said: “We’re hoping very much that we will be able to avoid anything like that.
“But the reality is that the rates of infection have increased very much in the last few weeks.”
Government scientist Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London, has warned a full UK-wide lockdown is needed in early 2021 to prevent a “catastrophe”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday, Professor Hayward said: “I think we are entering a very dangerous new phase of the pandemic and we’re going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February.