October 12, 2020
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.
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:
This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”