Millions of people in London, Essex, York and other areas face tougher Tier 2 Covid measures from Saturday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
Under this “high” alert level, there is a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.
The areas to go into high alert restrictions this weekend are:
- Essex (As unitary authorities, Southend and Thurrock councils are not included in the move and will remain in Tier 1, Essex County Council has said)
- Elmbridge in Surrey
- Barrow in Furness, Cumbria
- North East Derbyshire
- Erewash, Derbyshire
Delivering a statement to the Commons, the health secretary said “things will get worse before they get better”.
“Now, I know that these measures are not easy but I also know that they are vital,” Mr Hancock told MPs.
“Responding to this unprecedented pandemic requires difficult choices, some of the most difficult choices any government has to make in peacetime.”
On Thursday, a further 18,980 cases and 138 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported in the UK.
The new three-tier system sees every area of England classed as being on medium, high or very high alert – also known as Tiers 1 to 3, respectively.
It came into effect on Wednesday, and the Liverpool City Region remains the only area currently in the highest tier.