Greater Manchester unites against Tier Three lockdown bid

‘Don’t make us the sacrificial lamb’: Andy Burnham slams bungled bid to force Manchester into Tier Three lockdown demanding 80% furlough scheme and accusing PM of Southern bias – as Britain records 18,980 more cases and 138 deaths

  • Government humiliatingly backed off putting Manchester and Lancashire into Tier Three after revolt by MPs 
  • Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham threatened legal action if toughest level of lockdown is imposed 
  • Complained of southern bias and said his region was being treated by the PM as a ‘canary in the coal mine’ 
  • London being shifted to Tier Two from midnight tomorrow meaning households banned from mixing indoors 
  • Essex also set to move to Tier Two while Greater Manchester and Lancashire are facing upgrade to Tier Three
  • Harshest local lockdown in the Government’s three-tier system has so far only been introduced in Liverpool

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Andy Burnham launched a fresh salvo at the government’s bungled bid to make Greater Manchester a ‘sacrificial lamb’ by imposing tougher lockdown today – demanding bigger bailouts and accusing Boris Johnson of southern bias. 

The region’s mayor said the North was being treated like a ‘canary in the coalmine’ with experimental restrictions, claiming that if London was in the same position there would be a nationwide clampdown.  

His fierce intervention came as Britain today recorded 18,980 more coronavirus cases and 138 deaths. Department of Health figures show daily infections have risen just eight per cent in a week from 17,540 last Thursday. Just 77 fatalities were declared last Thursday.

Although rising, the numbers are still a far cry from the darkest days of the first wave in the spring, when more than 100,000 Britons were catching the virus every day and at least 1,000 infected patients died daily.

Mr Burnham’s retort has led ministers to humiliatingly back off of plans to force a Manchester lockdown after Tories lined up alongside local Labour politicians, complaining about the assault on civil liberties and the economy.

There had been widespread briefings overnight that the area would be shifted into the harshest Tier Three category along with Lancashire. However, the mood shifted abruptly after health minister Helen Whately held what was branded a ‘sh**show’ conference call with local MPs.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that ‘discussions are ongoing’. 

At a press call in Manchester, Mr Burnham said: ‘Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City region and Lancashire are being set up as the canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy as an attempt to prevent the expense of what is truly needed.

‘The very least they should be offering the people of Greater Manchester who will be affected by these closures is a full and fair 80 per cent furlough for all affected workers, 80 per cent income support for people who are self-employed, and a proper compensation scheme for businesses. So far, they have not been prepared to offer that.’

Speaking to reporters tonight, Mr Hancock said: ‘The situation in the North West is severe, the number of cases is rising exponentially, the number of people in hospital with covid has doubled in just the last 12 days.

‘So I call upon local leaders to set aside this party politics and to work with us to put in place the measures that are needed in Greater Manchester, (and) across the North West, so we can deal with this virus and support people through it.’

He said now is ‘a time for people to come together so that we can control this virus’ and ‘we must act’.

Mr Burnham said chief medical officer Chris Whitty had told him that a national lockdown was the only thing ‘certain’ to reduce coronavirus cases. 

‘But the Government told us this morning it is unwilling to do that because of the damage it will do to the national economy,’ he said.

Police say Wales’s ban on English visitors from COVID hotspots is ‘UNENFORCEABLE’

Police chiefs have warned Mark Drakeford’s plan to impose a travel ban on English visitors to Wales from coronavirus hotspots is ‘unenforceable’. 

The Welsh First Minister announced yesterday he intends to prohibit entry to people from areas with high levels of Covid-19 if Boris Johnson fails to impose UK-wide travel restrictions. 

But the Police Federation of England and Wales said ‘policing in Wales is already over-stretched due to the pandemic’ and the new measures would add ‘yet another level of complexity to policing’. 

The proposals have sparked a furious political backlash with Tory MPs labelling the move ‘heavy handed and stupid’ as they also accused Mr Drakeford of being ‘guilty of small man syndrome’. 

Meanwhile, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said ‘putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional’ and warned it would put the police in an ‘invidious position’.

Mr Drakeford defended his proposals this morning as he said police could use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to catch visitors from banned areas of the UK. 

He also said holiday providers in Wales should not accept bookings from people in hotspot areas of the UK as he warned existing getaway plans ‘will no longer be able to be honoured’.   

It came as Nicola Sturgeon backed Mr Drakeford’s call for nationwide travel restrictions on high incidence areas as she said she would not rule out imposing a Wales-style ban on visitors. 

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‘And yet that is what they want to impose on the North West.

‘So that was our conclusion from the Number 10 meeting this morning: they are willing to try and sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try and save them elsewhere.’

Earlier, Labour’s Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was ‘unanimous fury’ among the politicians on the call with Ms Whately.

‘We want action but it has to be the right action, because we’ve lived in Tier Two for nearly three months and it’s not worked,’ she said.

Wigan’s Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy said: ‘Despite repeated attempts to claim we’re divided there was total unity from Conservative and Labour Greater Manchester MPs on the call with the Minister this morning.

‘We will support evidence based interventions with adequate financial support. We will not support this chaos.’

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee and MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said the ‘case has not been made’ for a tougher lockdown.

‘There is widespread concern amongst Members of Parliament, council leaders and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, all resisting the suggestion that Tier 3 should be introduced.’

However, significant movement has come in shifting areas from Tier One to Tier Two on the government’s lockdown scale.

Half of England will be under heightened lockdown from the weekend after nine million Londoners were told they face tougher curbs to tackle a coronavirus surge.

In other key developments today:  

  • The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the country as she got back to business without a mask, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic;
  • Covidiot MP Margaret Ferrier will face no police action despite travelling 800 miles across Britain while ill with coronavirus, Scotland Yard said; 
  • Former government advisor Louise Casey has warned that locked down workers could be forced to ‘prostitute’ themselves because government support is inadequate; 
  • As many as 13 London boroughs have breached the infection threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 people; 
  • Police chiefs have warned Mark Drakeford’s plan to impose a travel ban on English visitors to Wales from coronavirus hotspots is ‘unenforceable’;  
  • The UK’s total coronavirus deaths rose to 43,155 yesterday, while the number of cases diagnosed since the outbreak began in March reached 654,644.

Andy Burnham launched a fresh salvo at the government's bungled bid to make Greater Manchester a 'sacrificial lamb' by imposing tougher lockdown today - demanding bigger bailouts and accusing Boris Johnson of southern bias

Andy Burnham launched a fresh salvo at the government’s bungled bid to make Greater Manchester a ‘sacrificial lamb’ by imposing tougher lockdown today – demanding bigger bailouts and accusing Boris Johnson of southern bias

Tory MP Graham Brady

Health minister Helen Whately

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee and MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said the ‘case has not been made’ for a tougher lockdown after a call with Helen Whately (right) today

Labour's Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was 'unanimous fury' among the region's politicians about the idea of a Tier Three lockdown

Labour’s Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was ‘unanimous fury’ among the region’s politicians about the idea of a Tier Three lockdown

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that 'discussions are ongoing'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that ‘discussions are ongoing’

Coronavirus shame MP Margaret Ferrier ESCAPES police action over 800-mile cross-Britain journey while ill because she took a test BEFORE new laws that could have seen her fined £4,000 came into effect

Covidiot MP Margaret Ferrier will face no police action despite travelling 800 miles across Britain while ill with coronavirus, Scotland Yard said today.

Detectives investigating the former SNP politician, 60, said that despite potentially infecting people on journeys between her Scottish constituency and London – where she spoke in Parliament – she broke no rules in England.

Ms Ferrier travelled by train while awaiting the results of a Covid test at the end of last month. She spoke in the Commons that night and then travelled back to Scotland the following day after being told the test was positive. 

The Metropolitan Police this afternoon said that because Ms Ferrier took a coronavirus test on September 26 – and travelled to London two days later – she could not face action under the Health Protection Regulations 2020, because they only came into effect on September 29.

The new law introduced a £4,000 fine for people who ‘recklessly’ breach lockdown. 

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP was stripped of the nationalist party’s whip and faces mounting calls to resign her £80,000-per-year job.

But she remains defiant and refuses to back down, blaming ‘muddled rules’ for her actions. 

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Mr Johnson reviewed the proposals this morning after they were signed off by the ‘gold command’ group including chief medical officer Chris Whitty. 

Along with London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also be placed into the same category.

It means as of Saturday residents will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in bars and other venues. Socialising outdoors – including in pub and private gardens – will still be allowed within the Rule of Six.

Offices and public transport can remain open, although the government’s general advice to work from home where possible stands. 

Overall, nearly 30million people – around half the population of England – will be in a raised state of lockdown.  

Mr Khan has been demanding more support for the capital’s hospitality businesses that could be crippled by the shift. He warned this morning that Londoners face a ‘difficult winter ahead’, and also repeated his call for new national ‘circuit breaker’ measures alongside the curbs. 

The Health Secretary told the Commons he ‘hated’ bringing in new measures, but it was the ‘only way’ to save lives. He said cases were ‘on a steep upward path’ in London.

‘Unless we suppress the virus we cannot return to the economy we had,’ he added. 

In a grim message he warned: ‘Things will get worse before they get better.’ 

But there was no move on Greater Manchester or Lancashire after the revolt. 

Hazel Grove’s William Wragg said: ‘All of the Members of Parliament, the leaders of the councils and indeed the mayor, surprisingly, are in agreement with one another, the meeting we had earlier today was entirely pointless.

‘I may as well have talked to a wall, quite frankly.’

Meanwhile, a separate meeting with local authority leaders also seems to have been shambolic.

Oldham’s Labour council leader Sean Fielding said: ‘I am far from a seasoned negotiator but the GM (Greater Manchester) meeting just now was a masterclass in how not to do it.

‘Opening line from Govt: ”We either do tier 3 with you or impose it”. And then absolutely nothing is offered to bring us on side because ”there is no money”.’  

The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the country as she got back to business without a mask today, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation

The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the country as she got back to business without a mask today, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation

Mr Khan has been pushing for the capital to be moved up from Tier One – which just means normal social distancing rules, the Rule of Six and a 10pm curfew on pubs – to Tier Two.

However, he has been angling for more funding to go alongside the curbs, and there was resistance within government, local councils and Tory MPs to treating London as a whole, with infection rates varying widely in different boroughs.

40% OF CASES IN TEENS AND 20s, PHE SAYS

Almost half of coronavirus infections are still happening in people in their teens and 20s, according to Public Health England.

Those in their late teens and early 20s appear to have fuelled the second wave if the epidemic.  

Thousands of cases are being diagnosed in university students, who returned to their studies in September and notoriously live in cramped halls of residence and large households.

Working people in their 20s may also be large drivers of infection because of their active social lives. 

Among 10 to 19-year-olds in England, PHE said, there are 245 cases of Covid-19 for every 100,000 people. And there are 253 cases per 100,000 in people aged 20 to 29.

Although young people are not at much risk of dying if they catch Covid-19, they can accelerate community outbreaks that spread to older people, and they may also suffer the lasting effects of ‘long Covid’. 

Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE’s medical director, said today: ‘We’re now seeing about 40 per cent of positive cases among young adults in their late teens and early twenties, which is causing the disease to spread rapidly throughout the community and older people. 

‘And while there are fewer cases among older people, they are far more likely to get seriously ill. 

‘That means we are also seeing a worrying increase in people aged over 75 being admitted to hospital. We must be prepared for the number of deaths to rise rapidly as a result.

‘This picture is particularly acute in the North of England, with the North West the region worst affected.

‘I cannot stress enough how vital it is that everyone follows the guidelines as they are there to help protect you and your loved ones. Wash your hands regularly, use a face covering and keep your distance.’ 

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Mr Khan said: ‘Nobody wants to see more restrictions – but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners lives by myself, London Council Leaders and by ministers.

‘As part of our discussions, I’ve also made clear to the Government that we need more financial support for London’s businesses, workers and public services as we face more restrictions – and we will continue to make this case.’  

Ealing has become London’s new Covid-19 hotspot, figures revealed today.

Government data shows the West London borough diagnosed 144.5 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending October 9, topping Richmond upon Thames (137.9). 

Ealing’s seven-day rolling average number of weekly Covid-19 cases has jumped up to 144.5 per 100,000 people in the week ending October 9, from 132.5 just yesterday.

Some parts of the borough are significantly harder hit than others, according to the government’s dashboard.

For example, South Ealing’s infection rate currently stands at 293.6, Southall North’s is 274.3 and Elthorne Park’s is 295.3. 

The Government coronavirus dashboard reveals the borough has moved up from the third spot to the top in one day, overtaking Richmond-upon-Thames and Hackney and City of London.

Thirteen boroughs now have infection rates over 100 per 100,000 people, the equivalent of one person in every 1,000 catching the coronavirus every week. 

None of the 32 boroughs had tipped the threshold before this week, according to separate Public Health England data. 

The dramatic step was criticised by some London Tories.

London Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘Sadiq Khan’s constant calls for more restrictions and more lockdowns are incredibly irresponsible. It’s almost like he wants people to pay attention to anything other than his terrible record as Mayor.

‘I fully support the government’s decision to put London into Tier Two. It’s a sensible move that may help us avoid another lockdown while keeping Londoners safe.

‘To be absolutely clear, London’s economy would be hit hard by a second lockdown. So even though it’s right to keep all options on the table, we should do everything we can to avoid a second lockdown.’

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill said the ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ for the capital was a mistake.

The senior Conservative told Sky News: ‘I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s disproportionate for the whole of London.

The government's data for London show that case rates have risen - although the lack of testing at the previous peak of the outbreak in March and April means the figures are not comparable. Deaths and hospitalisations have also seen an increase over recent weeks

The government’s data for London show that case rates have risen – although the lack of testing at the previous peak of the outbreak in March and April means the figures are not comparable. Deaths and hospitalisations have also seen an increase over recent weeks

SADIQ KHANAGE: PUBS, RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS BLAST LONDON MAYOR FOR TIER TWO RESTRICTIONS

Furious hospitality chiefs today blasted Sadiq Khan for ‘cursing’ London as they warned that plunging the UK capital into Tier Two lockdown will cause ‘catastrophic business closures and widespread job losses’.

London is braced for tighter controls from midnight tomorrow after a deal was done with Mr Khan, who is demanding yet more money from the Government and calling for a national ‘circuit breaker’.

Residents will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in bars and other venues, while socialising outdoors — including pub and private gardens — will still be allowed under the Rule of Six.

Offices and public transport can remain open, although the Government’s general advice to work from home where possible remains in place.

Today angry hospitality bosses, including restaurateurs, hoteliers and Britain’s biggest pub trade association, all lined up to warn City Hall that further coronavirus restrictions would lead to economic devastation.

It has now emerged that UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls warned the London Mayor that more draconian action would lead to ‘mass job losses’, as much as 250,000 in the capital alone, yesterday — a full day before London was moved into Tier Two.

Her letter to Mr Khan added that ‘we have moved into a new phase of financial peril for our businesses, their employees, the capital’s tourism offer, and the social and cultural prospects for Londoners’.

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‘I can see some parts of London the test is met, but… there is a cluster of south-east and southern London boroughs where the rates are very much lower.

‘And although they are increasing I think to move this way for the whole of London, this one-size-fits-all approach, is a mistake because of the very real harm it will do to businesses.’

In the Commons, Mr Hancock stressed his distaste for the infringement of civil liberties. But he cemented his reputation as the leading ‘dove’ in Cabinet by insisting action had to be taken before cases rise further. 

‘The central change is that people cannot now meet other households socially indoors. This applies in any setting at home, or in a restaurant or in any other venue. The rule of six still applies in any outdoor setting and although you may continue to travel to open venues, you should reduce the number of journeys where possible,’ he said.

‘Now, I know that these measures are not easy but I also know that they are vital.

‘Responding to this unprecedented pandemic requires difficult choices, some of the most difficult choices any Government has to make in peacetime.

‘We make these decisions with a heavy heart with the sole aim to steering our nation through troubled waters.’

He said: ‘Working with local leaders in Essex and Elmbridge, we’re also moving them into local alert level high and I want to pay tribute to the leadership of Essex County Council and in Elmbridge where they have been working so hard to suppress the virus.’

Mr Hancock added: ‘Infection rates are also rising sharply in Barrow-in-Furness, in York, in North East Derbyshire, in Erewash and Chesterfield.

‘In all of these places, cases are doubling in less than a fortnight.

‘For all of the areas entering the high alert level, the change will come into effect one minute past midnight on Saturday morning and this includes Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield too.’

But Mr Hancock did not have any substantive news on shifts to Tier Three, merely saying that engagement was continuing. 

Mr Burnham and Greater Manchester council leaders have threatened legal action if they are put into the ‘fundamentally flawed’ highest level of local restrictions without more financial help.

The Mayor said he would ‘not cave into the pressure’ by agreeing to a local lockdown and said the extreme restrictions would be ‘by imposition, not consent’. But the government has made clear that while it wants to work with local authorities, it will act without their cooperation if necessary.   

By contrast Lancashire’s county council leader Geoff Driver has said it is ‘inevitable’ his area will enter Tier Three. It reported a further 835 cases yesterday, some 87 of them in the seaside resort of Blackpool where medics said they fear having to relive the April peak ‘all over again for an indefinite period of time’ as intensive care wards fill up. 

Mr Burnham and other Manchester leaders have backed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s calls for a nationwide ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown. 

They ‘fear a winter where large parts of the North are trapped in tier three’ without financial support for firms or for those unable to work. 

EALING is now London’s Covid-19 hotspot 

Ealing has become London’s new Covid-19 hotspot, figures revealed today as it was confirmed that the capital is being thrust into a Tier Two lockdown from tomorrow night.

Government data shows the West London borough diagnosed 144.5 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending October 9, topping Richmond upon Thames (137.9). 

Ealing’s seven-day rolling average number of weekly Covid-19 cases has jumped up to 144.5 per 100,000 people in the week ending October 9, from 132.5 just yesterday.

Some parts of the borough are significantly harder hit than others, according to the government’s dashboard.

For example, South Ealing’s infection rate currently stands at 293.6, Southall North’s is 274.3 and Elthorne Park’s is 295.3. 

The Government coronavirus dashboard reveals the borough has moved up from the third spot to the top in one day, overtaking Richmond-upon-Thames and Hackney and City of London.

Thirteen boroughs now have infection rates over 100 per 100,000 people, the equivalent of one person in every 1,000 catching the coronavirus every week. 

None of the 32 boroughs had tipped the threshold before this week, according to separate Public Health England data. 

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The measures come in spite of Manchester’s Covid-19 infection rate appearing to slow. This week saw 448 cases per 100,000 – compared to 582 per 100,000 the week prior. 

After learning the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s ‘Gold Command’ had recommended an upgrade, Mr Burnham tweeted: ‘Said I wasn’t going to comment but now feel compelled to do so on the back of this Government briefing. 

‘At no point during tonight’s briefing was this news communicated to us. Media told first once again. Our position has not changed.’

As well as hospitality closures, Tier Three restrictions include a ban on socialising with other households indoors and in gardens. 

Speaking at City Hall, Mr Khan stepped up the pressure on Mr Johnson to go for a two-week national ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown over school half-term this month – something the premier has so far said he will not do.   

‘Given how far the virus has already been allowed to spread – and given the government’s complete failure to get a working test, trace and isolate system in place – I believe we also need action on a national scale – just as the government’s own scientific advisers have recommended,’ Mr Khan said.

‘That’s why I’ll continue to call for a short national circuit-breaker.

‘This could save thousands of lives, drive the virus down to manageable levels, and give the government more time to finally get a grip on its failing test and trace system.’ 

Eddie Curzon, the Confederation of British Industry’s London director, said: ‘Businesses are fully aware that public health must come first and have been doing everything they can to keep staff and customers safe, whether in pubs, shops, or offices…

‘But this news will come as a severe setback to businesses across London – particularly in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors.

‘While the Chancellor has taken bold and decisive action to support jobs and companies’ cashflow, London businesses still remain under extreme pressure.

‘It’s vital that the Government, the Mayor’s Office and London’s councils continue to work effectively together and use whatever tools they have at their disposal to protect jobs and livelihoods.’ 

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, welcomed the announcement on moving to Tier Two, saying it was ‘recognition of the severity of the situation we find ourselves in as a county’.

In a statement, he added: ‘We think the government has decided correctly, guided by the science and the fact is that the number of cases in Essex is rising exponentially.

‘We understand that the move to the High local covid alert level may affect people’s lives and businesses and understand the very strong feelings about this. However, we have a duty of care to the people of Essex, and we firmly believe that this is the best route to minimise disruptions, to save lives – not just for those with the virus, but for other patients as well – and to protect businesses.

Ex-homelessness tsar claims people in Liverpool will have to ‘PROSTITUTE themselves to put food on the table’ 

Dame Louise Casey has claimed the offer of two-thirds pay for workers whose firms shut could see people ‘prostitute themselves so they could put food on the table’. 

In a blistering attack, the Government’s former homelessness adviser warned new measures from Ministers to support employees not at work would not ‘cut it’.

Under the furlough scheme, taxpayers funded 80 per cent of workers’ wages until August, with the scheme winding down until it is closed at the end of the month.

A separate Job Support Scheme, which launches on November 1 and lasts for six months, will involve the Government paying two thirds of each employee’s salary.

But this will only be up to a maximum of £2,100 a month and only if their employer is legally required to close their premises because of restrictions. 

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‘These are difficult times for individuals, businesses and communities, but I know that as a county we will come together to support and protect one another – as we have done previously – and that acting sooner rather than later to curb the spread of Covid is the right thing to do.’

In a round of interviews earlier, business minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested the decision had already been taken on subjecting Greater Manchester and Lancashire to the most severe measures as he was asked about the meeting later between the region’s MPs and health ministers.

He told Sky News: ‘I hope that they can be at the meeting and make time for that meeting so they can hear from the chief medical officer, from the deputy chief medical officer, as to why we’re having to take this action.’

Meanwhile, another furious row is ongoing between Mr Johnson and UK nations, after Wales announced a block on people travelling from coronavirus hotspots in England.

Critics have dismissed the step by First Minister Mark Drakeford as unenforceable and an attempt to ‘ban the English’.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford confirmed this morning that Scotland could follow Wales in preventing non-essential travel from coronavirus restrictions.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We of course have the opportunity to put in place appropriate public health measures. What we can do, if necessary, is say that people should not travel from hotspots, whether they should be from in Scotland or people coming to Scotland from other parts of the United Kingdom.

‘But that will be done on an evidence-based approach where we think it’s appropriate to protect the people in all parts of the country from people travelling where it’s not necessary. When people have to travel for business, for work, and so on – essential journeys – they will still be allowed, but what we’re talking about is non-essential journeys, where it’s appropriate to do that.’  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in Westminster yesterday for Prime Minister's Questions

Sadiq Khan warned this morning that Londoners face a 'difficult winter ahead'

Boris Johnson (left) leaves 10 Downing Street in Westminster yesterday for Prime Minister’s Questions. Sadiq Khan (right) warned this morning that Londoners face a ‘difficult winter ahead’ as the capital moves to Tier Two restrictions

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged 

What is the difference between Tier One and Tier Two? 

TIER ONE 

Normal social distancing should be followed. Face masks on public transport and in shops etc.

Rule of Six on gatherings indoors and outdoors, and 10pm curfew on pubs. 

 TIER TWO

The Tier One rules still apply. 

In addition, households are banned from mixing in any indoor setting.

That means that socialising inside homes and bars is off limits.

However, in pub gardens, private gardens and other outdoor spaces it is still permitted as long as the Rule of Six is obeyed. 

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In a press conference with mayor of the Liverpool City region Steve Rotheram yesterday, Mr Burnham said: ‘My great fear is we’re going to see a position where areas, one by one, are going to have pressure piled upon them to go into tier three, because that’s an easier option for the government.

‘It’s cheaper, it puts all the pressure on local leaders without the support. I think a winter where most of the north is trapped in tier three is going to be very serious.’

He said the option backed by Sir Keir – which would involve a country-wide lockdown for between two and three weeks – ‘would be a better and a fairer way of keeping the country together, not accentuating regional divide’.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government will pay two thirds of the salaries of people who can’t keep working under tier three lockdown – such as bar staff.  

But Mr Burnham said the measures aren’t enough and threatened going down ‘legal routes’.

He told the conference: ‘We won’t accept people having their jobs taken off them, their businesses taken off them without proper compensation and what I mean by that is 80 per cent furlough across the board.

‘We would consider other routes – legal routes – where we could protect our many thousands of residents who are going to be left in severe hardship in the run up to Christmas.

‘We would not just leave them in the lurch, we would try and support them and that would include any legal action we could take on their behalf.

‘We might even consider some joint action in that space because we won’t let people just be sent to the wall.’ 

The political grappling comes as the UK’s daily Covid-19 cases jumped 40 per cent in a week.  Health officials yesterday announced 19,724 more infections and 137 new deaths.  

PM could impose ‘urban circuit breaker’ at school half-term

Boris Johnson is looking at placing millions of people in urban areas into a total ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown at half term.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the PM’s assistant Dominic Cummings are said to be pushing for a two-week closure from October 26 – but limit it to the worst-affected parts of England.

This would allow him to appear to be taking decisive action in the face of wide-support for the measure but avoid handing a political victory to Labour leader Keir Starmer, who demanded a nationwide lockdown this week.

It would cover all areas in the top Tier 3 Very High category but could also include some areas currently at Tier 2 High.

It came as it was announced London will go into Tier 2 lockdown from midnight on Friday night, with ministers expected to announce Greater Manchester would be put into the highest Tier 3 later today.

Mr Johnson has not ruled out a circuit-breaker, but in a combative performance at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, he said it would mean misery for millions.

He rounded on Sir Keir Starmer over his call for the UK to be plunged back into a national lockdown for a temporary period.

The PM is also likely to have stiff opposition from the Chancellor. Responding to Keir Starmer’s call for a full circuit breaker, Rishi Sunak last night said Britain was already facing an ‘economic emergency’ – and said Labour ‘do not seem to care about the long-term stability of the public finances’.

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Last Wednesday, 14,162 cases and 70 deaths were recorded, as well as 17,234 cases and a four-month high of 143 fatalities on Tuesday. 

For comparison, more than 100,000 Britons were getting infected and at least 1,000 were dying every day during the darkest period of the first wave in March and April. 

Mr Johnson yesterday sounded defiant on his local tiers lockdown plan, despite warnings from scientists that it is the ‘worst of all worlds’. 

In brutal clashes at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson dismissed calls from Sir Keir Starmer and his own SAGE experts for a ‘miserable’ national ‘circuit breaker’. 

He insisted that his job was to balance the economic and wider interests of the country with the science. 

But there are claims Mr Johnson is looking at placing millions of people in urban areas into a total ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown at half term.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the PM’s assistant Dominic Cummings are said to be pushing for a two-week closure from October 26 – but limit it to the worst-affected parts of England.

This would allow him to appear to be taking decisive action in the face of wide-support for the measure but avoid handing a political victory to Labour leader Keir Starmer, who demanded a nationwide lockdown this week.

It would cover all areas in the top Tier 3 Very High category but could also include some areas currently at Tier 2 High.  

The UK’s rolling seven-day average of daily infections — considered a more accurate measure because it takes into account day-to-day fluctuations — is 15,767, having soared from 3,000 this time last month. 

And data shows the average number of daily deaths is 91, having steadily increased following a record-low of seven in mid-August.

Only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico, all countries with substantially larger populations, have suffered more fatalities than the UK’s tally of 43,155. 

But experts consider this to be an underestimate because it only takes into account patients who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.

Can I still meet my friends in a pub garden? Should I cancel my half-term trip to Cornwall? Your questions answered as nine million Londoners are plunged into Tier 2 lockdown 

Nine million people in London are set to face tougher coronavirus restrictions banning households mixing indoors from midnight on Friday night.

MPs have been told London will move to ‘tier two’, meaning households will be banned from mixing indoors – including in pubs – from Saturday at 0.01am.  

The ban on households mixing indoors could be devastating for the capital’s 3,640 pubs and 7,556 restaurants – who will see business suffer but will not be eligible for Government support available to premises which have been ordered to close.

The move is part of the new three-tier strategy of local lockdown measures for England announced by Boris Johnson in efforts to curb rising Covid-19 rates. 

People in London will not be able to meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

Up to 15 guests will still be allowed at weddings and up to 30 people allowed at funerals, while shops, gyms, all education settings and churches will remain open. 

The travel advice for those living in tier two is to reduce the number of journeys they take where possible and avoid travel into very high tier three areas.  

Areas in tier two today included Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Tees Valley, West Midlands, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will move to tier two from 0.01am on Saturday. 

You can find out the current alert level in your area with the Government’s postcode checker by clicking here, but note it may change this weekend.

Here, MailOnline looks at what it will mean for Londoners from Saturday:

Can I still go to my friends’ house tonight or tomorrow night?

Yes. Tomorrow will be the last day when you can visit a friend’s house for now, but you must ensure no more than six people gather – and you leave before midnight.

Can I have my friends over from Saturday?

No. People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

Can I see my friends inside a pub or a restaurant?

No. You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. 

This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants. 

Can I meet my friends in a pub garden?

Yes. You can gather in groups of six outside at venues which are following Covid-secure guidance, including pubs, restaurants, shops, leisure and entertainment venues and places of worship.

At least one person in the group should give their contact details to the venue or check in using the official NHS Covid-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday - and not indoors

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday – and not indoors

Can I see friends outside?

Yes. You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. 

When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. 

Do children count in the ‘rule of six’ outdoors?

Yes. This limit of six for meeting people outdoors includes children of any age.

Can I still meet inside with people from my support bubble?

Yes. You will still count as one household who can meet together indoors or outdoors.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. 

Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together. 

Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles (see below).

Is the support bubble affected by London changing tier?

No. Your support bubble is still valid despite London going into a higher tier, so you can continue to function as one household. 

Can my friends visit if they are from outside London?

No. If you live in a ‘tier two’ area you also cannot meet indoors with people from outside of the area, unless exceptions apply (see final question below). 

Can I go to stay at a hotel or Airbnb home within London? 

Yes. You can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

You can only stay in a private home – which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats – with members of your own household or support bubble.

You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household.

However you should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other’s rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.

Can I still go on holiday outside London?

Yes, with exceptions. You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Can I still go on holiday to Wales? 

Probably not. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is proposing a travel ban on visits to Wales by people living in areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with high levels of Covid-19 from Friday. 

He said police in Wales could use number plate technology to catch people from UK coronavirus hotspots who illegally enter the country. 

Can I still go on holiday to a tier three area like Liverpool?

No. You should avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to very high local Covid alert levels.

Can I still move home or look at a house in London?

Yes. You can still move home. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can also continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings. 

Do I have to end my current holiday outside London if it’s with another household?

No. At the time that the new local restrictions are brought in, if you are currently on holiday with another household outside London, but are from London, and are staying in a private home and it is not reasonable for you to curtail your stay, you should finish your holiday as planned. 

The Government advises that until the end of this holiday you should ‘make every effort to reduce socialising indoors outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance’.

Can I still use public transport?

Yes, but with restrictions. The Government says you may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, but you should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’. 

If you need to travel, the Government encourages people to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel. 

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

Do the tier two rules follow me if I travel outside my area? 

Yes. The rules are based on the highest tier level out of a) where you live and b) where you are visiting. 

Therefore, if you live in London, you must abide by London’s rules wherever you go.

But if you are from a tier one area and are visiting London, you must abide by the rules for London.

Can I visit my parents in an area outside of London?

Yes. However you must follow the rules applying to where you live, so you would have to meet them outside and ensure there is not a group of more than six people.

Can I still commute into London if I live in a tier one region outside the capital? 

Yes. The Government says people can continue to travel into a high alert area for work, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.

Are the exceptions to the rule of six for children? 

Yes. There are exceptions from legal gatherings limits for registered childcare, education or training, and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups. 

This means you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies. 

Who can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens?

Registered childcare providers including nannies, people in your support bubble or people in your childcare bubble.

What is the definition of a childcare bubble? 

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. 

For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. 

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so. 

Can I meet with a household from another flat inside the property where I live? 

No. The Government’s definition of a household is one person living alone, or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room, sitting room or dining area. 

A household can consist of a single family, more than one family or no families in the case of a group of unrelated people. 

Therefore people who live in different self-contained flats cannot meet with each other.

Can I visit my grandparent in a care home?

No, with exceptions. You should not visit a care home except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life. 

Will shops still be open?

Yes. Non-essential retail as well as essential stores will remain open for customers.

Will I be fined if I am caught having a meeting in a group that is illegal? 

Yes. Meeting in larger groups is against the law, although there are certain exceptions (see final question). 

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups, which includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fixed penalty notice fines.

You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 - the that weddings were once again permitted

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 – the that weddings were once again permitted

Can I attend a wedding? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 15 people can attend weddings or equivalent ceremonies and receptions where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and ‘taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus’. 

But receptions should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other, and must not take place in private homes. 

Can I attend a funeral? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present, but these cannot take place in private dwellings. 

Where food or drink is consumed, this should be in the form of a sit down meal. 

Anyone working at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception, wake or funeral is not generally counted as part of the limit. 

People living outside of London in a tier one area can travel to the capital to attend an event, but they must not meet with another household indoors. 

Can I still go to church?

Yes. You can still attend places of worship for a service in London. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.   

Can I attend an indoor exercise class? 

Yes, with restrictions. Indoor exercise classes and other activity groups can only continue provided that households or support bubbles do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities must not go ahead. 

There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.

Can I still take place in sports activities outdoors?

Yes. In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.

Can I still have a street party?

Yes, but as long as it is outside and no more six people gather, following Covid restrictions. 

Can a tradesperson come into my house? 

Yes. A tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the rules if they are there for work.  

What if I am clinically vulnerable?

The Government advises that those aged 70 or over, pregnant women or those with an underlying health condition can go outside as much as they like but ‘should still try to keep your overall social interactions low’.

Should I share a car with someone from outside my household?

No, in most cases. The Government says it is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context. 

So you should avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. 

Does the 10pm curfew still apply to pubs and restaurants?

Yes. Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are still 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-through. Orders must be made via phone, online or by post. 

A group of women carry their drinks in London's Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

A group of women carry their drinks in London’s Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

Are hospitality venues at motorway services still exempt from the curfew? 

Yes. Hospitality venues in ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas do not need to close at 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time.  

Can I still go to work in the office?

Yes, with exceptions. The Government advises that ‘office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter’. 

It adds: ‘Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.’

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

The Government also says that ‘anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work’. 

Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should still work from home wherever possible.

Can I still go to school or college?

Yes. The Government says it has ‘prioritised ensuring all children can attend school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians’.

Can I still go to university? 

Yes. Universities have welcomed students back and students are allowed to move home and travel to go there.

However those in tier two areas must not move backward and forward between their permanent home and term time address during term time – subject to limited exemptions.

Students living at their university term time address in a high alert level area should follow the same guidance on meeting other people and travel as others in that area. 

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Can I commute into London or another high alert level area to go to university?

Yes. Commuter students – defined as those who live at a family home and travel to/from university each day – should be able to continue to travel to/from their university as required, for education purposes.

However, you must not meet people you do not live with in their home inside the area, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble

You can also not host people you do not live with in your home, if they live in the affected area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble

You must also not meet people you do not live with in their student halls, whether inside or outside of the area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble.

If you move out of, or currently live outside of, an affected area you should not host people you do not live with in your home or student halls if they live in a high alert level area, unless they’re in your household, support bubble or childcare bubble.

Will Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph go ahead?

Yes, with restrictions. Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph on November 8 will take place but will be closed to the public.

Crowds will not be allowed to go to the service and will be asked to mark the day at home. The usual Royal British Legion march past has also been cancelled.

It is expected that members of the Royal Family and dignitaries will still attend to lay wreaths to remember the fallen. 

What are the exceptions on people from different households gathering?  

  • in a legally permitted support bubble or childcare bubble
  • for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • for registered childcare, education or training
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
  • for birth partners
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
  • to facilitate a house move
  • for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
  • for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport, and licensed outdoor physical activity
  • indoor organised team sports for disabled people, and youth sport
  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
  • protests – if organised in compliance with Covid-secure guidance

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