LONDON remains under a strict new lockdown amid concerns over rising coronavirus cases.
The capital was ordered to comply with tier two restrictions under Boris Johnson's new three-step shutdown plan.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the decision after 12 of London's boroughs breached the threshold of 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.
The city was formerly in the first tier – meaning "medium" risk – along with much of the rest of the country.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is clear that the virus is now spreading rapidly in every part of our city, and hospital and ICU admissions are steadily rising."
What is Tier Two?
Boris Johnson introduced a new three-tiered system to simplify local lockdowns in coronavirus hotspots – rather than rolling out a national shut-down.
The PM ushered in a new model of "local Covid alert levels" in England, which work as a traffic light system.
Under the system, there are three tiers – medium, high and very high.
In areas with particularly high levels of infection, pubs, gyms and casinos could be forced to closed.
In his speech to the nation Mr Johnson said we "must act" – as the rise in coronavirus cases is "flashing like warnings in a passenger jet".
London moved into Tier 2 restrictions on October 17.
What can I do in Tier Two?
People in areas in Tier Two – where there is a high risk of coronavirus – are banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs.
When meeting outside, only two households will be able to mix.
Current social distancing measures, the "rule of six" outdoors and the 10pm curfew will continue in this tier.
However, all businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure way, unless they're closed by law – such as clubs and adult entertainment venues.
So if you're a Londoner, you'll still be able to go for a pint – as long as you're going with members of your household.
Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
But you'll still be able to get a takeaway where that's offered after 10pm – as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
Schools, universities and places of worship will remain open.
Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the rule of six is followed.
Londoners will also be asked to reduce the number of journeys they make – and walk or cycle where possible.
What are the exceptions to the rule on meeting indoors?
Gatherings within indoor settings, as well as your home or garden, can still take place for these specific purposes:
- where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
- to attend a birth at the mother’s request
- to visit a person who is dying
- to fulfil a legal obligation
- for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- for the purposes of education or training
- for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider and informal childcare as part of a childcare bubble
- to provide emergency assistance
- to enable one or more people in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
- to facilitate a house move
- to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
- to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.
What is banned in London in Tier Two?
The biggest and most significant change will be that millions of people in the capital won't be able to meet people from other households indoors, whether that's in their home or in a pub.
Residents will be banned from seeing friends or family not living in the same household as them inside.
That rule covers homes and other settings, like the retail, entertainment, leisure and hospitality sector.
Under the second-tier level, up to six people from two households can mix in an outside garden, however.
Venues that definitely are classed as indoor settings include restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, casinos, and cafes.
Journeys by public transport aren't banned – although Brits are being asked to avoid buses and trains if they can.
Why is London in Tier 2 and how many cases are there?
Official statistics show London's infection rate — the number of weekly cases per 100,000 people — doubled in a fortnight.
The Mayor said it was better to act sooner, rather than wait and "lose more lives and damage more livelihoods".
He explained that the bug was spreading "rapidly in every corner of our city", with a London-wide weekly infection rate of 92 cases per 100,000 people.
However Mr Khan warns that many infections are not being recorded because of insufficient testing capacity.
As of October 22 the infection rate in Ealing was 148 per 100,000 residents, according to the latest data.
Richmond upon Thames did previously have the highest number of daily new cases in the week to October 8 with 140.4, according to Government figures.
But this has dropped slightly to 137.4 in the week to October 15.
Hackney and City of London are on 134.1, while Hammersmith and Fulham have 134 cases per 100,000 residents.
Redbridge recorded 122.2 cases, compared to Haringey's 119.5; Hounslow's 118.2; Hillingdon's 117.6 and Kingston upon Thames's 116.1.
At the other end of the scale are Southwark (81.2); Bromley (79.7); Lewisham (77.2); Bexley (75.7) and Croydon (75).
Where else in England is in Tier Two?
Tier 2 placements loom for the likes of Hertfordshire, Slough and Wokingham, warn health bosses.
Coventry City Council has announced that Coventry is to move up into Tier 2 from October 24 after originally being named in the lowest tier.
- Cheshire West and Chester
- Cheshire East
- High Peak – the wards of Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John's, Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South and Hadfield North
- North-East Derbyshire
- South Tyneside
- North Tyneside
- Redcar and Cleveland
- Oadby and Wigston
- Nottingham City
Millions of northerners have been plunged into the highest level of Covid restrictions, including South Yorkshire (as of October 24) and Greater Manchester (from October 23) – both of which have been bumped out of Tier 2, to join Lancashire and Liverpool City Region in Tier 3.
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