PM refuses to rule out Tier 4 lockdown if UK Covid rates don’t come down

Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have today refused to rule out a Tier 4 lockdown if the UK's Covid rates don't come down.

It was reported over the weekend that an extra tier on top of the current Tier 3 measures may be introduced if new rules fail to bring down the infection rate.

Currently, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and Lancashire are all at Tier 3, meaning there is a very high risk of infection.

On Monday, the Prime Minister insisted the Tier 3 measures were having an effect.

When asked about the possibility of Tier 4, the PM said: "We are working at the moment through the Tier 3 strategy."

He added: "The key thing is that if you're contacted by NHS Test and Trace and you are told you have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, the most important thing to do is to self-isolate, to interrupt the chain of transmission."

Pubs and other places which don't serve food, along with casinos, indoor soft play, and some other businesses are ordered to close under the top level of restrictions.

If those measures don't work, more places may be ordered to close down.

It is expected that schools and offices will still remain open, despite the extra rules.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast today of the reports of Tier 4: "We've always said all along that we take nothing off the table.

"Having said that, we have seen the rise in the number of cases has slowed a bit.

"The problem is it's still going up, and while it's still going up we've got to act to get it under control.

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"We rule nothing out but at the moment the three-tier system is what we're working to and it's effective in slowing the growth of this virus but it hasn't brought this curve to a halt."

A decision about the new restrictions is likely to be made next month once ministers have analysed how well the current three-tier system has worked, according to iNews.

Other potential options include a "tier three-plus" strategy as well as short-term local circuit breaker lockdowns in a bid to bring the R rate of infection down below one.

Ministers and the government's top scientists have already admitted that the measures may not be enough to control the virus in the top danger areas.

More announcements are expected later today on moving other areas including Nottingham to Tier 3 in the coming days.

Last week, Boris Johnson ruled out a "circuit breaker" national lockdown after a backlash to Greater Manchester being placed under Tier 3.

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