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Boris Johnson Unveils Three-Tier Lockdowns To Slow Outbreak Despite Local Allies’ Pushback


  • Boris Johnson has announced a three-tiered system of lockdowns to combat the resurgent pandemic
  • Under the system, Liverpool would close pubs and ban gatherings. Manchester, another outbreak hotspot, has not agreed to the measures
  • Other countries in Europe and the United States also face a second wave, threatening to overwhelm hospitals and intensive care units

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a new three-tiered lockdown plan as COVID-19 surges once more across Europe and the United States. Under the plan, virus hotspots like Liverpool and Greater Manchester would close pubs and also ban gatherings. Greater Manchester has not yet agreed to the measure, and local leaders in Liverpool and across the U.K. have voiced objections to the implementation of the measures.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said in a statement that the restrictions were “not something regional leaders supported, nor what I believed would be happening following extensive conversations over recent days”

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer told parliament that he doubted the government’s ability to contain the spread of the virus even with new regulations.

“I’m now deeply skeptical the government has actually got a plan to get control of this virus,” Starmer said. 

The U.K. has over 603,000 cases and nearly 43,000 deaths from COVID, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Johnson himself had previously said he wanted to avoid further lockdowns, but rising infection numbers have forced his hand. Previously unused hospitals built to manage the initial COVID-19 outbreak are being employed to deal with patient overflow. 

In April, Johnson tested positive for COVID and later recovered.

BBC News reported on Oct. 5 that some speculation has lingered over whether he fully recovered. Johnson has stated that he was “as fit as several butchers’ dogs.”

Almost 14,000 new coronavirus cases were reported across the UK on Monday Almost 14,000 new coronavirus cases were reported across the UK on Monday Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS

Britain isn’t the only country in Europe dealing with the resurgent virus. German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with cabinet members Monday to discuss new measures against the virus and has a more significant meeting Wednesday with the various state Premiers. 

French intensive care units are being pushed to capacity after youth populations sheltered the virus, reexposing more vulnerable demographics. Their hospitals are understaffed, and it could be months before new personnel can finish training.

The United States is dealing with its own second wave. Daily new cases spent four days over 50,000, fuelled by both populations and governments unwilling to follow prevention guidelines. The disease isn’t distributed evenly across either the U.S. or U.K.: low infection rates in New York City and London have officials moving forward with plans for an air corridor ahead of the holiday tourism season. 

A stateside vaccine is likely months away. The exact trends that threw France back into the thick of the pandemic have also played out across the U.S.

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Boris Johnson Announces Three-tier Coronavirus Strategy for England

Tighter restrictions have been confirmed by the Government as the Prime Minister confirmed a ‘three-tier’ system for England to classify the severity of rates of COVID-19.

From Wednesday, regions will be classed as either ‘medium’, ‘high’, or ‘very high’ risk.

The details, announced in the Commons by Boris Johnson, came as the NHS said that Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland, and Harrogate were being asked to mobilise in the next few weeks in response to growing rates of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the North West and North East.

Speaking at a Downing Street news briefing earlier, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, warned that additional hospital admissions and deaths were now ‘baked in’ as the virus spread from younger to older age groups.

What the Three Tiers Mean

Speaking ahead of his evening televised address to the nation, Mr Johnson said he did not believe another national lockdown was appropriate but that he was not prepared to “let the virus rip”.

The three-tier system would mean:

  • Medium: Covering most of England, national restrictions such as the ‘rule of six’ and the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars, and restaurants would apply

  • High: People in areas including Greater Manchester and Birmingham would be prevented from socialising with other households indoors

  • Very High: People would be banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, while bars and pubs would be closed unless they were able to operate as restaurants

The Prime Minister said that agreement had been reached with leaders in Merseyside for the Liverpool city region to move into the ‘very high’ alert level. There, gyms, leisure centres, betting shops and casinos would also be told to close.

Mr Johnson said that discussions were ongoing with other leaders in the North West, North East, and Yorkshire and Humber over lockdown restrictions.

Mr Johnson told the Commons: “They, like us, like everyone in this House, are grappling with very real dilemmas, but we cannot let the NHS fall over.”

He warned MPs that “the weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country”.

A debate and a vote on the new restrictions will take place at Westminster. The Government has promised to keep the measures under continual review.

In reply, Labour leader Keir Starmer said it was clear that the country faced a “critical moment” in efforts to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

However, he added: “I’m now deeply sceptical that the Government has actually got a plan to get control of this virus, to protect jobs, or regain public trust.”

Cases of Coronavirus ‘Heating Up’

Illustrating the latest situation this morning with a series of maps and graphs, Prof Van-Tam said latest data showed COVID-19 cases were “heating up” south of the West Midlands and East Midlands.

“It has changed in a matter of just a few days, and that is clearly of concern to me,” he said.

Prof Van-Tam said that while the resurgence of cases in Northern England