BORIS Johnson has introduced a fourth tier of coronavirus rules in a bid to curb spiralling infection rates in parts of the country.
But which areas are affected and when do the new Covid-19 measures come into force? Here's what you need to know.
What areas are in Tier 4?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a series of new tier four restrictions intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The parts of London, the South East and the East of England which were previously in Tier 3 have moved into the new Tier 4, affecting nearly 18 million people.
In the South East this covers Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings.
In the East of England it applies to Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).
It also includes all of the capital's 32 boroughs and the City of London.
Full list of areas in Tier 4
HERE is the full list of areas in Tier 4.
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
- All 32 London boroughs and the city of London.
- Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough
- Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).
When did Tier 4 restrictions start
The tier four measures will come into force from midnight on December 19 and will last for two weeks.
Asked what advice he would give somebody who had already packed their bag to leave a tier four area for Christmas, Chris Whitty, the government's chief medical advisor, replied: "Please unpack it."
The restrictions will be reviewed on December 30.
The new measures come amid concerns a rise in infection rates and concerns that a new variant of coronavirus is "spreading rapidly" in parts of the country.
What are the rules in Tier 4?
The prime minister said restrictions would be “broadly equivalent to the national restrictions which were in place in England in November".
You must stay at home and only leave for a specific purpose or if you have a "reasonable excuse".
This includes going to work if it cannot be done from home, shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, attending education or training, using registered childcare, outdoor exercise and for medical reasons.
Non-essential shops as well as indoor gyms, leisure facilities, and hairdressers will be told to close.
Individuals can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space.
The Christmas bubbles can no longer go ahead, but support bubbles can.
But unlike in November, communal worship will be allowed to continue.
There will also be a travel ban for anyone living in a tier four area.
People in affected areas have been told to stay at home and not to travel to other parts of the country, including for Christmas Day.
The prime minister has said the travel ban will be enforced by law.
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