LONDON >> Millions of people in the North of England are looking forward to hearing how many additional coronavirus restrictions will be tightened in the coming days, as the British government confirmed today that it will introduce a new system of local blockades.
In response to the resurgence of the virus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce in parliament on Monday a three-tier local locking system, officially known as “Local COVID Alert Levels”, for England, his office said.
Under the new system, the country will be placed at a “medium”, “high” and “very high” level of warning. Johnson’s office said the government was working with local leaders to decide which areas were covered by a very high level of preparedness and appropriate interventions in those areas.
Details of what is related at each level have not been confirmed, but the highest level is expected to include the closure of pubs and restaurants and a ban on mixing households, both indoors and outdoors, among other measures.
The new locking system, which aims to simplify the process of imposing local restrictions, is widely expected in a few weeks after the sharp rise in new cases. Following further discussions, Johnson will brief lawmakers on the new system early Monday before holding a briefing with Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak and government chief medical officer Chris Whitty.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer of England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, warned that the United Kingdom was at a “turning point”
“But we can prevent a repeat of history if we all act now,” he said. “Now we know where it is and how to deal with it – let’s use this opportunity and prevent history from repeating itself.”
Across Europe, including the United Kingdom, there has been a huge increase in coronavirus cases in the last few weeks after the reopening of large sectors of the economy, as well as schools and universities. Infection rates and deaths in the UK have been rising at the fastest pace in months.
Without prompt action, there are fears that hospitals in the UK will be overcrowded in the coming weeks during the year, when they are already busiest with winter-related problems such as the flu. The United Kingdom has experienced the deadliest epidemic in Europe with 42,825 official casualties, which is still 65 today.
Although coronavirus infections are on the rise across England, northern cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle have seen a disproportionate increase. While some rural areas in the East of England have less than 20 cases per 100,000 people, some major metropolitan areas have recently reported levels above 500 per 100,000, almost as bad as Madrid or Brussels.
As a result, national restrictions, such as the 22:00 curfew for pubs and restaurants, have been complemented by local action, including in some cases a ban on household contacts. In Scotland’s two largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, pubs have now been closed for 16 days to quell the outbreak.
The local Liverpool leader said he expects his city to face the toughest restrictions Wednesday.
Local leaders in the north of England have outraged the Conservative government over what they see as an “inadequate” wage support scheme it announced on Friday and for failing to tell them correctly about the forthcoming restrictions. The payroll plan aims to help employees in companies forced to close due to virus restrictions, but mayors say it is not generous enough to pay just two-thirds of employees’ salaries and does not indirectly compensate those affected by business closures. , such as beverage suppliers in pubs.
On Sunday, Community Secretary Robert Jenrick tried to allay fears that the government was too hierarchical in its approach. He also said local authorities would be given more control over the national testing and tracking program, which is struggling to meet Johnson’s prediction that it will be “global.”
“In addition to the national infrastructure, which is evolving and increasing with each passing week, we will also use local councils to track contacts, in particular, because there is clear evidence that local councils are good at this, as you would expect. He told the BBC.