Infection rates are highest in the north of England.
Different areas in the country will now be evaluated as on “medium,” “high” or “very high” alert levels, with restrictions imposed depending on the severity of the outbreak. “Medium” areas will face the current national rules in place, which include a ban on social gatherings over six people and a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and pubs, while “very high” alert (tier three) areas will face bars, pubs and gyms being shuttered and bans on household mixing. However, retail stores, schools and universities will remain open.
“We must act to save lives, and the evidence shows that in changing our behavior, in restricting transmission between us, our actions are saving lives,” Johnson said in the House of Commons on Monday. “But we need to go further.”
In recent months, the government has targeted COVID hotspots with local restrictions, but this new system is designed to “simplify and standardize” the rules, Johnson said. The measures will come into force on Wednesday and will be the subject of regular review, he said.
The harshest measures in the U.K. have been imposed in the Liverpool City Region, which is now in the “very high” alert level, meaning bars, pubs and gyms have been ordered to shutter. COVID-19 cases are rising at the highest rates in northern England, according to Public Health England data.
Many northern areas already under restrictions will be placed into the “high” level. Comparatively, the rate of infection