Coronavirus UK news – Lockdown to be RELAXED with pubs, shops, gyms in new tiers before Christmas – latest in YOUR area

BORIS Johnson is expected to announce a major easing of coronavirus restrictions at a press conference this afternoon.

The PM is planning to unveil his winter covid strategy during the briefing later today, including outlying plans to lift Lockdown Two next Wednesday.

From Thursday 3rd December a strengthened three-tier system is expected to be put in place across the country, although non-essential shops will be allowed to open across all tiers and outdoor sports can resume too.

Pubs and restaurants will face much tougher measures, however, with those in Tier 3 only allowed to offer takeaways while those in Tier 2 must serve food with any drinks, even if guests are sitting outside.

The PM is also expected to announce the country's Christmas coronavirus plans, outlining details of exactly how many households will be allowed to mix over the festive period and for how many days.

He is also likely to announce what the possible consequence of easing over Christmas will be, with some reports suggesting an extended Lockdown Three could be put in place for much of January.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates

  • Hana Carter

    'WE NEED TO ALLOW PEOPLE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE TOGETHER' AT CHRISTMAS

    Dr Michael Tildesley, associate professor in infectious disease modelling at the University of Warwick, said people need to ensure that if there is a bubble system the bubbles need to be maintained exclusively.

    The member of the Government's scientific advisory body Sage was asked on Times Radio whether he supported household mixing indoors at Christmas.

    “Purely from the health perspective, you minimise the risk if you don't mix. But we are human beings and we need to allow people an opportunity to be together.

    “If the household mixing is coming into place, we need to get very clear messaging out to people to say 'keep those bubbles exclusive if you are going to merge two to three households'.

    “What you don't need to do is go and see your grandparents and then go out to see your friends in the pub on the same day, and go back to your grandparents, because that's where the real risk is.”

  • John Hall

    VICTORIA TO DROP FACEMASK RULES

    COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed further in Victoria, Australia as the state continues to record no new coronavirus cases.

    From Monday, people living in Victoria no longer need to wear masks when outside at all times, with people only required to wear masks when indoors and on public transport, or in places outside where social distancing is not possible

  • John Hall

    VACCINE TO 'SAVE MANY LIVES'

    Oxford University said that interim analysis from its phase three vaccine trial shows that the 70% effectiveness comes from combining two doses.

    One was 90% effective, the other 62%.

    In a statement, Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said: “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we've found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply.

    “Today's announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard working and talented team of researchers based around the world.”

  • John Hall

    'CALIBRATED APPROACH' TO DECEMBER TIERED SYSTEM

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the Government will adopt a more “calibrated” approach to the tiered system of local coronavirus controls in England when the lockdown lifts on December 2.

    Ahead of a Commons statement by Boris Johnson, Mr Hancock said the number of cases was beginning to fall.

    “It is very clear that keeping the virus under control and getting the R below 1 saves lives because we can see that if the virus gets out of control the number of hospitalisations goes up, sadly the number of people dying goes up,” he told Times Radio.

    “But the new tiers are calibrated to do that in a way that has as little impingement as is reasonably possible on our lives and on the economy.

    “Managing to open retail would have a big positive effect on the economy and we think we will still keep R below 1 and the number of cases coming down.”

  • John Hall

    PUBS AND RESTAURANTS TO BE HIT BY NEW COVID RESTRICTIONS

    Pubs and restaurants are set to be hit by new Covid restrictions after lockdown so that shops, cinemas, and gyms can stay open.

    The new rules – to be introduced once the current lockdown ends on December 2 – will be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson later today.

    It's understood pubs will only be allowed to serve booze alongside a “substantial meal” and punters will only be able to dine with people they live with indoors.

    Pubs and restaurants in Tier 3 will only be allowed to operate on a click and collect basis with no seating inside. 

    Read the full story here.

  • John Hall

    CARE HOME VISITS COULD BE ALLOWED UNDER NEW TESTING SCHEME

    Care home residents could be allowed to welcome visitors again under a new coronavirus testing scheme.

    The scheme is part of new plans set to be laid out by the prime minister on Monday.

    If pilots in 20 homes are successful, from next month every care home resident in the country will be allowed to have up to two visitors who can be tested twice a week.

    Read the full story here.

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