The PM has announced the measures that the UK will take following the ending of lockdown on December 2nd. Referring to the “wretched virus”, he said that for the first time it was now possible to see a way out thanks to the “scientific cavalry”.
3 Tier Alert System Reinstated
From Wednesday next week, people will be able to leave their homes and shops will reopen. The three-tier alert system will be reinstated, and Johnson is expected to announce which regions will be in which tier on Thursday, with the following rules in force:
- In the new tier, 1 people will have to work from home if they can.
- In tier 1, the rule of six will be the same both indoors and outdoors, allowing people from across households to see each other indoors.
- In tiers 2 and 3, such meetings will only be allowed outdoors, with no household mixing inside, beyond the expected relaxation of rules over Christmas.
- Public worship, weddings and sports events will be allowed with restrictions
New tiers will be tougher than before
However, the PM cautioned that a ‘free for all’ would cause the virus to surge again. With this in mind, Johnson has tightened certain measures, particularly around pubs and leisure:
- In the new tier, 2 pubs will only be able to serve drinks with a meal.
- In tier 3 indoor entertainment and hotels will close, and restaurants and pubs will only be able to serve takeaway food and drink.
- Pubs and restaurants must stop serving at 10 pm, but people can stay until up to 11 pm, to stagger departures times and avoid overcrowding.
Pubs warn measures will bring sector down
The pub sector expressed its disappointment with confirmation of further restrictions in the run-up to Christmas – its key trading period. Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Our sector has been singled out by these new measures which unfairly target pubs. The additional restrictions will destroy our sector if they go ahead as proposed. The relaxation of the 10 pm curfew is meaningless if most pubs are rendered unviable or forced to close under tiers two and three.”
Way out of Covid-19 crisis now visible
The PM said that two scientific developments should eventually make the tier system redundant. As soon as a vaccine is approved, it will be supplied as quickly as possible. The government has ordered 100m doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and 350m vaccine doses in total – enough for everyone in the UK and crown dependencies. Johnson said the “vast majority” of vulnerable people who need a Covid-19 vaccine could be vaccinated by Easter.
Covid-19 cases falling in all but two regions of England
Latest figures show Covid-19 case rates have started to fall in most local areas across England. Only two of the nine regions are recording a week-on-week rise: London and south-east England. Yesterday the number of new cases was 398 and a week ago the figure was 213. This is the lowest daily figure since 15 November, when it was 168. The most recent week-on-week hospital admission figures for the UK also show a decline.
UK could face a double-dip recession
The Guardian reported that the first snapshot of the UK economy during England’s four-week lockdown shows evidence of a looming double-dip recession as tougher restrictions take a toll on service-sector output.
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