30/12/2020 15:08 GMT | Updated 30/12/2020 16:24 GMT

Tier 4 Covid Rules Extended To Most Of England

The strictest lockdown rules will come into force on New Year's Eve, Matt Hancock announced on Wednesday.

Covid Tier Checker: Here Are The Rules In Your Area 

Millions more people in England will move into the highest tier 4 level of coronavirus restrictions, Matt Hancock has announced.

The new rules will come into force on Thursday, the health secretary told MPs on Wednesday.

Hancock said the decision to move more areas into tier 4 meant three-quarters of the population of England would now be living under the toughest rules.

It comes as official figures showed the deaths of 981 people who tested positive for coronavirus in the UK have been recorded in 24 hours.

Hancock told MPs: “Sharply rising cases and the hospitalisations that follow demonstrate the need to act where the virus is spreading.

He added the majority of new cases recorded yesterday “are believed to be the new variant” which was “now spreading across most of England”.

An additional 20 million people will be in tier 4 from December 31. This means a total of 44 million people will now be in tier 4, or 78% of the population of England.

A total of 12 million people will be in tier 3, or 22% of the population of England.

No area will be in tier 2, while only 2,000 people – the population of the Isles of Scilly – will be in tier 1.

The areas to go into tier 4, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, are:

  • City of Leicester
  • Leicestershire (Oadby and Wigston, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Blaby, Charnwood, North West Leicestershire, Melton
  • Lincolnshire (City of Lincoln, Boston, South Kesteven, West Lindsey, North Kesteven, South Holland, East Lindsey)
  • Northamptonshire (Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire, Wellingborough)
  • Derby and Derbyshire (Derby, Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Erewash, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak)
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (Gedling, Ashfield, Mansfield, Rushcliffe, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Broxtowe)
  • Birmingham and Black Country (Dudley, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton)
  • Coventry
  • Solihull
  • Warwickshire (Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwick, North Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon)
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (East Staffordshire, Stafford, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent)
  • Lancashire (Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Blackpool, Preston, Hyndburn, Chorley, Fylde, Lancaster, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
  • Cheshire and Warrington (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington)
  • Cumbria (Eden, Carlisle, South Lakeland, Barrow-in-Furness, Copeland, Allerdale)
  • Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
  • Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees )
  • North-east (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland)
  • Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham)
  • Somerset Council (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset)
  • Swindon
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
  • Isle of Wight
  • New Forest

Under tier 4 rules people are subject to a “stay at home” order. Non-essential retail must close while pubs and restaurants are restricted to takeaway only.

Different households are banned from mixing, although one person can meet one other person from another household outside in a 

People are not allowed to travel into or out of tier 4 areas, and those living in tier 4 are banned from traveling abroad unless it is for work or education. 

The following local authority areas will move to tier 3:

  • Rutland
  • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
  • Worcestershire (Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon, Wyre Forest)
  • Herefordshire
  • Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens)
  • York and North Yorkshire (Scarborough, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Selby, Craven, Ryedale, Harrogate, City of York)
  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Devon, Plymouth, Torbay (East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, West Devon, Plymouth, Torbay)
  • Cornwall
  • Dorset
  • Wiltshire

Under tier 3, people can see friends and family they do not live with in some public outdoor places — such as parks or public gardens  in a group of up to six.

But just as in tier 4, pubs and restaurants are restricted to takeaway only.

The decision is believed to have been made at a government “Covid-O” operations meeting on Tuesday night.

It comes as hospitals in England struggle under the strain of their highest ever number of Covid-19 patients, surpassing the first wave peak that was seen in April.

The number of lab-confirmed cases recorded in a single day in the UK hit a new record on Tuesday, rising above 50,000 for the first time, to 53,135.

Medics have been describing the pressure felt on the front line, with one junior doctor telling the PA news agency his London hospital is “aggressively overstretched” and that he expects the situation to worsen.

The doctor, who works in general medicine and wished to remain anonymous, said if the volume of Covid patients continues to increase, his hospital will need to start rationing oxygen – which he expects it will.

It came as local authorities in Essex declared a “major incident” as the number of coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm health services in the county.

The announcement was made in response to a “significant growing demand” on hospitals across the county and to enable local leaders to seek further support from the government, the Essex Resilience Forum (ERF) said.

Areas of concern include critical care and bed capacity, staff sickness, and the ability to discharge patients quickly into safe environments.