Millions of people in northern England
are anxiously waiting to hear how much further virus restrictions will be
tightened in coming days as the British government confirmed Sunday that it
will be introducing a new system for local lockdowns.
response to the virus’ resurgence, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to
announce in Parliament on Monday a three-tier local lockdown system, formally
known as “Local COVID Alert Levels,” for England, his office said.
the new system, the country will be placed into “medium,” “high” and “very
high” alert levels. Johnson’s office said the government is working with local
leaders to decide which areas are covered by the very high alert level, and the
appropriate interventions in those areas.
of what is involved at each level haven’t been confirmed but the highest level
is widely expected to involve the closure of pubs and restaurants and the
banning of household mixing, both indoors and outside, among other measures.
new lockdown system, which is intended to simplify the process by which local
restrictions are imposed, has been widely anticipated for a couple of weeks
following a sharp increase in new cases. Following further discussions early
Monday, Johnson will inform lawmakers of the new system before hosting a
briefing along with Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and the government’s chief
medical officer, Chris Whitty.
across Europe including the U.K., there have been huge increases in coronavirus
cases over the past few weeks following the reopening of large sectors of the
economy, as well as schools and universities. Infection levels — and deaths —
in the U.K. are rising at their fastest rates in months.
quick action, there are fears that U.K. hospitals will be overwhelmed in the
coming weeks at a time of year when they are already at their busiest with
winter-related afflictions like the flu. The U.K. has experienced Europe’s
deadliest outbreak, with an official death toll of 42,825, up another 65 on
coronavirus infections are rising throughout England, northern cities like
Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle have seen a disproportionate increase.
While some rural areas in eastern England have less than 20 cases per 100,000
people, some major metropolitan areas have recently recorded levels above 500
per 100,000, nearly as bad as Madrid or Brussels.
a result, national restrictions such as a 10 p.m. curfew on pubs and
restaurants have been supplemented by local actions, including in some cases
banning contacts between households. In Scotland’s two biggest cities, Glasgow
and Edinburgh, pubs have already closed for 16 days to suppress the outbreak.
local leader has said he expects his city to face the most onerous restrictions