Covid-19: PM’s winter plan for coronavirus

Boris Johnson has put forward his plan to reduce the spread of coronavirus this winter, as England leaves national lockdown in early December. 

The latest coronavirus updates see England set to return to a stricter three-tier restriction system from 2 December; a five-day quarantine for travellers coming back to the country from places with high infection rates; from 15 December; and three-household bubbles for Christmas between 23-27 December. 

Households across the UK will be allowed to form a “Christmas bubble“. This means that one household can be accompanied by two more during a five day window over Christmas. 

Travel restrictions across the UK will also be lifted during those five days, allowing people to travel between tiers and between countries.

Michael Gove said: “We should balance the need to protect public health with also allowing people to be with their loved ones.” 

The three-household bubble cannot be changed nor extended further at any point. 

The prime minister has promised to not extend the lockdown however from 2 December England will move into a three-tier system, with details on which tiers local ares will enter set to be announced on Thursday.

Different regions will not be able to negotiate the new rules.  

The new rules for each tier will be:

All tiers: 

  • If they can, everyone should work from home
  • indoor leisure such as gyms and swimming can open
  • Personal care services and shops can open 
  • Schools, colleges and universities stay open
  • Professional sport, under-18 sport and disabled sport can carry on
  • Police will have new powers to shutdown premises breaking the rules

Tier 1:

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants must be table service only, they must close by 11pm and last orders at 10pm
  • Households can mix inside and outside, however the rule of six applies
  • Entertainment can open
  • Overnight stays are allowed with your household/bubble or up to six people from different households
  • Accommodation can open
  • Must avoid travel into tier 3 areas
  • Funerals allowed 30 guests
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes are allowed 15 guests
  • Exercise classes and adult sport can take place outside, rule of six inside
  • Live performances, professional sporting events and large business events can take place with a 50 per cent capacity, or 1,000 people indoors/4,000 outside- social distancing required
  • Places of worship can reopen but more than six people from different household must not interact

Tier 2:

  • Pubs and bars must shut unless they are operating as restaurants, they can only serve alcohol accompanied with a substantial meal- last orders taken at 10pm and close at 11pm
  • No mixing of households indoors apart from social bubbles- rule of six indoors 
  • Reduce traveling into tier 3 areas
  • Overnight stays allowed with you household or support bubble
  • Accommodation open
  • Weddings, civil-partnerships and wakes can have 15 guests
  • Funerals allowed 30 guests
  • Exercise classes and adult sport can take place outside, but not indoors unless you are from the same household or support bubble
  • Professional sporting events, live performances and large business events can take place with 50 per cent capacity, or 1,000 people indoors/ 2,000 outside- social distancing required
  • Place of worship can open but cannot interact with anyone not in their household or support bubble

Tier 3:

  • Hospitality venues closed, except takeaway, delivery and drive-through
  • No mixing of households indoors or most outdoor places- rule of six in outdoor space such as parks and sports courts
  • Indoor entertainment venues closed
  • No overnight stays outside local area, however it is allowed for work and education
  • Avoid travelling outside the area unless necessary, this includes foreign travel
  • Accommodation closed- except work purposes
  • Funerals allowed 30 guests
  • Weddings, civil-partnerships and wakes allowed 15 guests- wedding receptions not allowed
  • Exercise classes and adult sport can take place outdoors but avoid higher-risk contact activity
  • Group exercise and sports indoors not allowed, unless with household or support bubble
  • Live performances, large outdoor events and large business events banned but drive-in events allowed
  • Place of worship can open but people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble

The Department of Transport said travellers who arrive in England from countries which have high infection rates will be able to cut their 14-day quarantine to five days if they test negative for coronavirus on the fifth day.

The tests will cost £65 and £120, and they will need to book with one of the private providers on the government’s list.

The prices vary due to the tests coming from different private firms.

The scheme is being introduced on 15th December and it is hoped to boost travel without putting pressure on the NHS.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have a plan in place to ensure that pour route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster international travel while keeping the public safe.” 

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