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Hopes that some areas plunged into tier 3 could have rules eased by Christmas

Marie

Nov. 27, 2020

Hopes have been raised that some areas being plunged into tier three next week could have the strictest rules eased by Christmas.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said this morning there is ‘every reason’ to expect some areas could be moved into a lower tier when the new controls come up for their first 14-day review on December 16.
‘At that point we – advised by the experts – will look at each local authority area and see whether there is potential to move down the tiers,’ he told Sky News.
‘There were a number of places which were quite finely balanced judgments where they were on the cusp of different tiers. Those are the places that are more likely to be in that position.’
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It comes as ministers seek to head off a growing Tory revolt after it emerged 99% of the country will face tough rules after lockdown.
Although Mr Jenrick raised hopes some areas could be moved out of tier three by Christmas, Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned there would be limited scope for easing controls so quickly.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘I think that is quite an early time to be able to see what the effect has been.
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‘I think we will still be seeing the effect of the lockdown at that point in time.
‘For me I think that is quite an early review stage. I can’t imagine there will be huge changes at that point just simply because I don’t think we will have accumulated much data by then.’
‘The tier one and tier two really weren’t slowing the epidemic very much at all. We would have just seen those places pick up again quite rapidly.’
The Government announced yesterday that over 55 million people in England will go into the highest tiers when the country comes out of lockdown on December 2.
Boris Johnson is facing a growing rebellion over the decisions behind the tiers. Penshurst in Kent has only had three cases in the past week but has been placed under tier three restrictions because their local authority has high infection rates.
West Bay in Dorset is the only place in England that has not had a coronavirus case since March and yet the Government has placed it under tier two.
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At a press conference yesterday, Mr Johnson told Brits ‘that every area has the means of escape’ when he urged people to follow coronavirus rules and get their infection rates down.
He said that areas getting Covid-19 cases to drop will open ‘a path for areas to move down the scale as soon as the situation improves’.
The Prime Minister cited Liverpool’s move from tier three to tier two before the national lockdown in November because of mass testing that was piloted.
But the chief medical officer Chris Whitty seemed to contradict Mr Johnson during the same press conference when he said it was more likely that small adjustments would be made within the tier restrictions themselves rather than areas moving to tier one.
Throughout all tiers coronavirus rules will be relaxed to allow Christmas celebrations during the period from December 23 and December 27.
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