Boris Johnson has announced a new tier 4 of coronavirus restrictions – but what does it mean for travel?
The prime minister tonight announced the new restrictions would cover London, the east of England and areas of the south east.
Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said the UK had informed the World Health Organisation that it had concluded the mutant strain could spread more quickly.
The new tier will include restrictions on travel affecting people living in the restricted areas and anyone looking to enter them.
Can I travel from a tier 4 area to a lower tier area?
The new rules will order people in tier 4 areas to stay at home by law.
The rules will cover, Kent, Buckinghamshire, the east of England, all 32 London boroughs and the City of London.
Exemptions will be in place to allow people to travel for healthcare, education or childcare.
Outdoor exercise will be permitted and people will be permitted to meet with only one other person in a public space outside, unless they are part of a support bubble.
Can I enter a tier 4 area from a lower tier area?
The government will advise people not to enter tier 4 areas.
Earlier advice for entering tier 3 areas from lower areas had permitted travel for “necessary reasons”.
These included work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.
Can I travel on Christmas?
The rule allowing up to three households to mix over Christmas will not apply in tier 4, meaning that separate households cannot mix even on Christmas Day.
Support bubbles will still be permitted for people at particular risk of loneliness.
Elsewhere, household mixing will still be allowed for Christmas Day only, not for the previously scheduled five-day period.
What areas are in Tier 4?
The following areas will be under tier 4 from midnight:
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
- All 32 London boroughs and the city of London.
- Central Bedfordshire
- Milton Keynes
- Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
What did the prime minister say?
“Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” he said at the news conference
Mr Johnson said the new strain could be up to “70 per cent more transmissible”, and that the situation had given him “no alternative” but to toughen up restrictions.
“Our advisers on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) have spent the last few days analysing this new variant – there’s no evidence that it causes more severe illness or higher mortality but it does appear to be passed on significantly more quickly,” he said.