England to enter reinforced three-tier system when lockdown ends

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File photo dated 11/11/20 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has been told to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 (Photo: Aaron Chown / PA Images)

Boris Johnson is expected to detail his plan for the winter, which includes details of how families can view loved ones over Christmas, to MPs on Monday.

The ‘Covid winter plan’ is expected to place more areas in the upper levels to keep the virus in check and ensure that further restrictions are not needed, No 10 said.

And while some local measures will be the same as those of the previous system, some levels will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the national lockdown.

Cabinet is expected to discuss and approve the plan on Sunday before Mr Johnson announces it to Parliament the next day.

The plan will outline how people will be able to spend their Christmases, but ministers have made it clear that the holiday season will be different from normal with some restrictions to remain in place.

Ministers will set the level at which each area will be placed on Thursday and MPs are expected to have the vote to approve the new prioritization system, as Mr Johnson promised in the days leading up to it taking effect on December 2.

They are optimistic that restrictions can be gradually reduced as spring approaches, provided the vaccines are approved by regulators, which will allow a deployment plan to begin next month before a larger program in the new Year.

But the Prime Minister will be wary of a rebellion by Conservative backbenchers who oppose further restrictions.

In a vote on the current system four weeks earlier this month, 32 Tories rebelled to oppose the measures and 17 others, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, abstained.

Subsequently, the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) led by former chief whip Mark Harper and former Brexit Minister Steve Baker formed to resist further measures.

On Saturday, the CRG warned that it “cannot support” a tiered approach unless the government produces evidence showing the measures “will save more lives than they cost.”

The warning against the measures inflicting “enormous health and economic costs” came in a letter to the prime minister, which sources close to the group said had been signed by 70 Tory MPs, although the group’s leaders were the only identified signatories.

Downing Street is hoping for an easing over Christmas, potential vaccines on the horizon, and new scientific evidence will scale back a rebellion, with the government’s Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) due to publish articles on Monday indicating that the levels previous ones were not strong enough.

But the letter from the CRG said: “We cannot live under such a series of damaging lockdowns and seemingly arbitrary restrictions, and we expect our constituents to be grateful for being allowed to enjoy the holiday season. , only to have strict restrictions imposed thereafter. health problems and destroy their livelihoods.

The plans emerged when the government announced that another 341 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, bringing the UK total to 54,626.

So far Labor has supported the need for restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, and a full-scale Commons defeat on the plan is unlikely.

But Phantom Chancellor Anneliese Dodds, in a speech ahead of the Downing Street announcement, said the nation could not be allowed to return to “the mess we had before this lockdown” by calling for “clarity” on the economic support.

A spokeswoman for No 10 said: ‘Everyone’s efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased the pressure on the NHS.

“But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisers are convinced the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions, it could quickly run out of control before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

“It would jeopardize the progress the country has made and risk once again intolerable pressure on the NHS.”

A Labor spokesperson said that “we will take a close look at all proposals put forward by the government” but called for “appropriate support packages” for businesses that are unable to fully reopen.

“The previous system was failing – just going back to it without other measures in place will not work,” he added.

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