Three-tier Covid alert level announced – with Liverpool in ‘very high’ category
A new three-tiered system of local Covid-19 alert levels is being introduced in England – with the Liverpool city region the only place designated a ‘very high’ risk area.
The Prime Minister yesterday set out how the Government will further simplify and standardise local rules with levels set at medium, high, and very high.
The ‘medium’ alert level – which will cover most of the country – will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on September 25. This includes the Rule of Six, and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.
The ‘high’ alert level will reflect many current local interventions, but there will now be consistency across the country.
This primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission by preventing all mixing between households or support bubbles indoors. The Rule of Six will apply in outdoor spaces, including private gardens.
Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the ‘high’ alert level and include Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham.
The ‘very high’ alert level will apply where transmission rates are causing the greatest concern, based on an assessment of all the available data and the local situation. Currently only Liverpool has been put in this category.
This includes incidence and test positivity, including amongst older and more at-risk age groups, as well as the growth rate, hospital admissions and other factors.
In these areas, the government will set a baseline of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens, with the Rule of Six allowed in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
People will be advised not to travel in and out of these areas.
To create local consensus behind this more severe action, the government will work with local leaders on how individual areas should go beyond this baseline, which may include measures such as the closure of gyms, casinos, and leisure centres.
Non-essential retail, schools and universities will remain open in all levels.
Cases are rising rapidly across the country, particularly in the North East and North West, and this is resulting in increased hospitalisations and deaths.
The Prime Minster said that further action is required now to suppress the virus and make sure the NHS isn’t overwhelmed, and can continue providing essential services such as cancer care.
Why Liverpool has been placed in the ‘very high’ category and what it means
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