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Tougher coronavirus restrictions in a new Tier 5 could be introduced as soon as Wednesday.
The UK government is scrambling to stop Covid-19 cases soaring as a mutant variant of the virus, 70% more contagious that the original, takes its grip on the country.
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."
It has been reported by the Sun that a tougher "Tier 5" measure could be brought in to stop the spread.
Under the UK's coronavirus legislation, the tiered system is due for its next review on Wednesday, December 30 – and many suspect even harsher restrictions than the current tier 4 to be introduced.
Rules under any additional tier would likely stop people leaving their homes at all and schools remaining closed.
On Boxing Day another six million people across the south east and east of England moved into the current highest tier including many who had enjoyed Christmas day in Tier 2.
Government scientists have reportedly told Boris Johnson he needs to implement stricter measures to stop the virus from spiralling out of control.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has told the Prime Minister that because of the new faster-spreading variant of the virus, the R-rate would surge above 1 in January.
Experts have told Boris that a New Year national lockdown similar to the one in November where schools remain open will not be enough.
They recommend even stronger measures where secondary schools are shut along with pubs and non-essential shops.
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Sage has reportedly advised that the R-rate could be kept below 1 if all schools remained closed in January.
Meanwhile, Scotland and Wales have been put into a national lockdown and banned travel from and to the UK because of the new strain.
During his latest Brexit press conference, Boris Johnson said: “We believe that we’re going to have to get through this tough period now with, as I have said many times, very tough restrictions, with tough tiering.
“As much as I regret that, I do think it is necessary for us to drive this virus now to stop it running out of control in January.
“We need to buy ourselves time to get the vaccine into as many arms of the elderly and vulnerable as we can.”
A government spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Star that the latest review of the lockdown tiers would go ahead on Wednesday, December 30 but provided no further information.
The Gov.UK website says: “The next formal review of tiering decisions will take place by 30 December. The government keeps the data under constant review and will take immediate action to protect local communities.”
- Boris Johnson
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