Tough new restrictions needed to prevent new year lockdown, prime minister warns

Prime minister Boris Johnson is due to announce new post-lockdown coronavirus measures on Monday, November 23. Photo...

Prime minister Boris Johnson is due to announce new post-lockdown coronavirus measures on Monday, November 23. Photo:: Tolga Akmen/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Prime minister Boris Johnson has warned England is "not out of the woods yet" after backing tougher tiers to prevent a new year lockdown.

Mr Johnson was speaking at a Downing Street press conference on November 26, after the government announced which regions would be put into Tier 1, 2 or 3 after the national lockdown is lifted on December 2.

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire will be in Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions and means the counties are rated as being on high alert - areas with a "higher or rapidly rising level of infections".

The majority of England will be under Tier 2 meaning shops will reopen but households will not be able to mix indoors.

Pubs will only be able to open if operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a "substantial meal".

Mr Johnson said: "We have prevented our NHS from being overwhelmed but these dangers have not gone away. If we ease off we risk losing control of this virus again forcing us into a new year national lockdown. Most of England is in the top two tiers and tough measures. I know these bring heartache for our vital hospitality sector. I wish it were otherwise but if we are going to keep schools open, as we must, our options of bearing down on the disease are limited.

"These tough tiers strike a balance. There is no doubt that the restrictions in all tiers are tough and I'm sorry about that. The faster we drive the virus down the faster we drive down restrictions. Your tier is not your destiny. There are means to escape it. I have no doubt we will get through this winter and when vaccines come to our lives we can claim all the things we love.

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"Until the vaccine is on stream, we are not out of the woods yet and have to be vigilant."

He added: "We are not abandoning the fight yet. The tiered approach was delivering in slowing the virus down [before the second lockdown]. That is why we are going for the tiered approach now."

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. - Credit: PA

The prime minister hailed the success of the mass testing in Liverpool, which has moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 ad said that was down to people in that community  working together.

But he, along with chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and and UK chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, he warned that people should use their common sense during the relaxed five-day break from restrictions this Christmas.

Sir Patrick said: "If we take the brakes off now the thing now the thing [virus] will get up and run,"

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, during a media briefing in Downing Street. Picture: P

UK chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty. - Credit: PA

Prof Whitty said: "The fact you can do something doesn't mean you should."

He praised the majority of people in England who had followed the restrictions so far and said there was no evidence people would stop following further restrictions.

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