A LOCKDOWN ban on seeing friends and family must be continue after December 2 and a new super-Tier 4 introduced or the nation faces a complete January shutdown, a top NHS boss warned today.
Chris Hopson of NHS providers said the lower Tiers 1 and 2 weren't working, and urged ministers to make Tier 3 the norm – where people are banned from indoor mixing and pubs are closed.
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Ministers are looking at how to replace the national lockdown in England with a new tiered system from December 3 onwards, but no decisions have yet been made on what it will look like.
The plans will be revealed to MPs next week – alongside how Boris Johnson intends to get the four nations of the UK togethr for Christmas.
But in a grim warning, today Mr Hopson predicted that a backlog of treatment and winter Covid cases could create the "perfect storm" and another total lockdown could be needed after a Christmas spike.
He told The Times: “You’ve got to replace what there was with something that is sufficiently tough… Tier 1 and Tier 2 simply weren't effective enough".
He made the case for a new "super Tier 4" in some areas to crack down on the worst rates of transmission.
He gloomily said that any easing of national restrictions around Christmas would lead to the disastrous consequences of a third wave.
He added: "There is a risk we swap a few days of celebration for the misery of a third wave a few weeks later… even a few days with very few restrictions would be a problem".
It came as:
- Matt Hancock said families wouldn't be able to cuddle this year as they still should be social distancing at Christmas
- He warned Christmas wouldn't be normal but they hoped to put in rules so people could see friends and family
- But top cop Cressida Dick said police had no intention of disrupting people's dinners – no matter what the rules are
- An inquiry into Priti Patel found that people in the Home Office did feel bullied by the Home Sec – but the PM has stuck by her and refused to fire her
- The ONS said cases were 'levelling off' – with thousands of fewer cases than last week
There were an average of 38,900 new cases per day of Covid-19 in private households in England between November 8 to 14, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is down from an estimated 47,700 new cases per day for the period October 31 to November 6, they added.
Mr Hopson's warning came after PHE boss Dr Susan Hopkins said earlier this week that the lower tiers- which included the 10pm curfew and rule of six as a baseline – had not been very effective.
She hinted they may have to be toughened up – effectively meaning people will be banned from seeing friends and family indoors even after the lockdown rules end.
And it would likely mean tougher rules both before and after Christmas in order to pay for it, too.
Boris Johnson is expected to outline the new tiers system to MPs and Cabinet next week – where they will need to vote on them too.
This morning Matt Hancock insisted that the cases were starting to go in the right direction – and for the first time since the start of the nationwide lockdown, the rolling seven day average had started to go down.
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