England expected to go under tougher three-tiered restrictions in December_china

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street

Prior to the lockdown, pubs and restaurants had to have everyone out by 10pm; however, it is understood that last orders will be at 10pm and curfew will be pushed back to 11pm from 2 December, according to Sky News.

The statement concluded: "The UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive hope to conclude this work this week, subject to agreement by each administration".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters Friday that while the lockdown has been successful in slowing the spread of the virus, people need to keep following the rules.

Reports had circulated that the government would grant people a five day period of freedom over Christmas before presumably going into another lockdown situation in January, and reports today indicate this will be implemented with the light restriction of bubbles being limited to four families. Full details of the so-called "Covid winter plan" are expected on Monday, after cabinet discussions on Sunday.

"But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisors are clear the virus is still present - and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect".

"With regard to Christmas, I think frustrating as it is for all of us, Christmas is not going to be normal this year, but, that said, the Prime Minister and everyone else, we're looking at ways to see how families can spend some time with each other over (the) Christmas period".

"That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS", the spokesperson explained.

The PM will be wary of a rebellion from backbench Tory MPs opposed to new restrictions.

The Prime Minister has been warned in a letter by the Covid recovery group (CRG), said to be signed by 70 Tory MPs, that he will have to provide a cost-benefit analysis to show the restrictions "will save more lives than they cost".

Johnson's office also confirmed plans to begin a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program next month, assuming regulators approve a vaccine against the virus.

But the opposition party has been urging the government to lay out its plan for what will happen when the national restrictions end.

But shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, in a speech ahead of the Downing Street announcement, said the nation could not be allowed to return "to the shambles we had before this lockdown" in calling for "clarity" on economic support.

A Labour spokesman said "we will look closely at any proposals the Government brings forward" but called for "proper packages of support" for businesses that are unable to fully reopen.

Under England's previous three-tiered system, regions were classified as either tier one - "medium", tier two - "high" or tier three - "very high", and each one had different lockdown rules.

The UK as a whole remains among the worst coronavirus-hit nations in Europe with almost 1.5 million confirmed cases, falling behind only France and Spain in terms of the total Covid-19 tally.

Johnson's government has responsibility for health policy in England but devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland coordinate their own responses to the pandemic.



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