12 October 2020 | UK NEWS
The Prime Minister has unveiled his three-level alert system for combatting the coronavirus pandemic, making a speech in the House of Commons shortly after 3:30pm. It comes following several press leaks late last week as to what it might contain.
Each region of the country will be given a ranking depending on the severity of the coronavirus spreading, with tier 1 being the lowest severity and 3 the highest.
Under tier 1, the current lockdown rules would be maintained, including the Rule of Six and 10pm curfew for catering establishments. Tier 2 would include heightened measures, including banning household mixing indoors but allowing outdoors (up to 6), including in private gardens. All the rules from tier 1 would continue. Tier 3 would ban all household mixing, either indoors or outdoors. Bars and pubs not selling food would be closed if placed under this category.
Currently, most areas are still under the tier 1 guidelines. The notable exception to this is the Liverpool City Region, which has been placed in tier 3. Parts of the West Midlands and Manchester have been placed in tier 2.
The regulations will come into force on Wednesday. The full address to the House can be watched here:
In front of MPs in the House, Boris Johnson announced, despite the new measures, that it would not be the “right course” to institute a second nationwide lockdown.
Johnson received criticism from all sides of the aisle in response to the new regulations, including from his own party.
Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said on Twitter he was: “Very disappointed that the new Covid tier 2 means stricter measures for the hospitality industry in the West Mids, which will now need immediate financial support.”
MP Steve Baker, who has been critical of the lockdown measures, asked the Prime Minister in the Commons whether he had a date for a vaccine, to which the PM replied that he did not. This has prompted questions over how long these measure can be kept up if no date can be confirmed.
This led Mr Baker to write on Twitter: “I asked the Prime Minister by when the vulnerable population may be vaccinated. As his answer showed, we cannot know. Suppression until vaccination is not viable much longer. We need a strategic plan B: https://gbdeclaration.org.”
He was referring to the Great Barrington Declaration, signed by many eminent scientists, which calls for most people to return to normal life, while those most vulnerable continue to be shielded – a proposal rejected (although not by name) by the Prime Minister during his speech this afternoon.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer questioned the effectiveness of the measures and whether or not the Prime Minister had a plan for getting out of the pandemic situation. He said: “I am now deeply sceptical that the Government has actually got a plan to get control of this virus, to protect jobs or to regain public trust.”
He continued by saying that it feels as though the Government is “several steps behind the curve”.
The Opposition leader did not, however, offer any alternative solutions to getting control of the virus.