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Three tier lockdown system to be unveiled in England


Boris Johnson is due to announce a new "three-tier" Covid system for England.

The PM will address Parliament at 15:30 BST, setting out different rules for regions classified as being on "medium", "high" or "very high" alert.

The Liverpool City Region - home to 1.5 million - is expected to face the tightest restrictions with pubs and gyms closed, and further rules on households mixing indoors.

Newcastle council's leader has said the North East could avoid tighter rules.

Mr Johnson will address MPs before holding a Downing Street news conference. Other areas awaiting news of further restrictions include Greater Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds.

Liverpool recorded 600 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 6 October. The average for England was 74.

The Liverpool City Region includes the local authority districts of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, as well as Liverpool.

Local MPs were told during a call with Health Secretary Matt Hancock all bars, pubs, gyms and betting shops will be closed while restaurants will remain open for the moment.

Legal restrictions will also be placed on indoor household mixing and there will be guidance on travel restrictions.

The new curbs are to be reviewed after a month.

Mr Johnson chaired a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee "to determine the final interventions" on Wednesday morning.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said experts told Cobra even tier three restrictions would be unlikely to bring the UK's R number - the rate at which an infected person passes on the virus - below 1.

The PM will announce changes in Parliament, before speaking at a Downing Street news conference at 19:00.

He is expected to be joined at No 10 by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty.

During a data briefing earlier, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said more people were now in hospital with Covid than before restrictions were introduced in March.

He confirmed Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate were being prepared to take patients.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said infection rates had never dropped as low in the northern England as in the South but warned "things are heating up" across the country.

Tougher measures were introduced in Scotland on Friday, including the closure of pubs and restaurants across the central belt, while the Welsh government has said the next few days could determine if "national measures" are implemented.

Under the new system for England, tier three is expected to involve the tightest restrictions.

We know the broad outline of what the government is going to announce today.

Ministers have been working on a tier system for local restrictions in England for weeks - and today they'll confirm how it will work and the basic principles.

The Liverpool region is set to be the first put into the "very high" top tier - which will mean significant restrictions on hospitality within days.

But there are still details of a support package being worked out.

The metro mayor in Liverpool Steve Rotheram is adamant there needs to be more support for workers and businesses that will be told to close.

He doesn't think the chancellor's current plans go far enough - and I'm told conversations on economic support are likely to continue into this afternoon.

There have been questions about definitions - when is a pub a pub, which could be told to close, rather than restaurant which might not?

It's worth highlighting that if other areas are added to the highest tier in the next few weeks, restrictions may look different.

Source:BBC News