October 12, 2020

Boris Johnson’s Update on tackling coronavirus

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. In the past four weeks, the number of Covid patients admitted to intensive care units in hospitals in some parts of the country has increased sevenfold.

If infections continue to rise at this rate, then in just four more weeks those hospitals could be treating more Covid patients than they did at the peak of the first wave.

The country is far better prepared for this second wave of the pandemic than it was in March; we understand far more about the virus and how it spreads.

We must act now to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, so we can keep cancer treatments, elective surgeries and other vital diagnostic services going.

What we are doing to tackle coronavirus

Throughout the pandemic, we have worked closely with local leaders to tackle local outbreaks with targeted restrictions. This has saved lives, and has avoided the need to apply those measures nationally.  

However, this has led to different rules in different parts of the country. These have become increasingly hard to understand and to enforce.

We have already simplified national rules where possible; the Rule of Six and Hands, Face, Space.

And today, the Prime Minister has set out how – from Wednesday, 14 October 2020 – we will simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local Covid Alert Levels in England. There will be three levels:

Local COVID alert: Medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of 6 is followed
  • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors.

Local COVID Alert Level – High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission by preventing all mixing between households or support bubbles indoors. This means the following additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Local COVID Alert Level – Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures. The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

  • Pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

From Wednesday, Liverpool City Region will be placed onto the ‘Very High’ Local Covid Alert Level. The Liverpool City Region includes the local authority districts of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, as well as the City of Liverpool.

Regulations for all three local alert levels are being laid today, will be debated and voted on tomorrow, and come into force on Wednesday, subject to the approval of Parliament.

These measures will be kept under constant review, including a four-week sunset clause for interventions in 'very high' areas.

Will decisions be taken on a local authority or regional basis?

The Government will work with local leaders, as well as the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England (PHE) to decide changes to alert levels.

Tougher restrictions will only be introduced in areas or regions with high and increasing rates of transmission. We will keep this list under constant review.

What is the trigger point?

Decisions will be made based on a number of factors including the rate of transmission, how quickly it is increasing and the effectiveness of current interventions.

That is why we aren’t setting a benchmark for the infection rate per 100,000 for moving between Local COVID Alert Levels.

We will keep the measures under constant review, including a four-week review point for interventions in 'very high' areas.

Hands, Face, Space: Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus

Our primary focus has always been to protect lives and livelihoods while controlling the spread of the virus, and we are now at a critical juncture.

We will continue to do everything we can to protect the NHS and make sure it can continue to deliver the essential services people rely on – and it remains vital that everyone follows the rules to help contain the virus.

That means continuing to follow public health guidelines: for everyone to follow the Government’s guidance: wash your hands, cover your face, and make space.

And we will continue to protect the NHS and save both livelihoods and lives.

Region Labour's Pension Tax (£) Extra Months to Work
England 11,167 44
East Midlands 6,150 50
Greater London 12,871 45
North East 9,758 38
North West 6,835 47
South East 14,270 40
South West 7,407 45
West Midlands 10,729 41
Northern Ireland 13,718 35
Scotland 10,653 41
Wales 11,691 36
United Kingdom 11,253 43

Commenting, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, said:

“Corbyn’s Pension Tax will see ten million savers facing a huge bill forcing them to delay their retirement for almost three and a half years.
“This is just one of the ways a Corbyn government would hammer hardworking people on top of his plans to hike up taxes by £2,400 a year, as well as the cost of his plan for unlimited immigration and the chaos of 2020 being dominated by two more referendums – one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence.
“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party can get Brexit done with a deal, get parliament working again and turbocharge our economy to unleash Britain’s potential.”

Read more about how this Pension Tax will impact millions of savers (PDF)