More COVID restrictions to be introduced from Boxing Day
A second new variant of the coronavirus has been found in South Africa
Essex, Norfolk, Sussex, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire will join London and the south east in Tier 4 from Boxing Day onwards, health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.
Addressing the nation at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Hancock said cases had risen "57% across the country in the last week," leaving him no choice but to impose more severe restrictions across the country.
"We simply cannot have the Christmas that we all yearn for," he said, calling on the people of Britain to ''minimise their social contact as much as is possible" over the Christmas period.
When the tier system was first introduced, Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles were the only regions in Tier 1, with the most relaxed restrictions. From December 26th onwards, nowhere in England will be in Tier 1.
The following areas will move from Tier 2 into Tier 3:
- Somerset including North Somerset council area
- Isle of Wight
- New Forest
A second new variant of the coronavirus has also been discovered in South Africa, Hancock said. Flights from South Africa to the UK have now been stopped. Hancock added that anyone been there, in the last fortnight, must quarantine immediately - without coming into contact with anyone at all.