Boris Johnson outlines tighter Covid rules for Christmas as millions plunged into Tier 4
Non-essential shops, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and bowling alleys in the South East - including London - will be forced to close for two weeks, while people will be restricted to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space only.
And, in further stark action across the rest of England, Boris Johnson has announced the planned five-day easing of restrictions over the festive period will now be limited to a single day.
"Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned," he said at a Downing Street news conference.
The move comes after scientists on the Government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NervTag) concluded that the mutant strain identified by Public Health England - known as VUI2020/01 - was spreading more quickly.
The Prime Minister was advised of the group's conclusions at a meeting with ministers on Friday evening, and the new regulations were signed off by the Cabinet in a conference call on Saturday lunchtime.
The Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has briefed the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the group’s findings.
Under the new “stay at home” order - covering around a third of the population of England - people in Tier 4 will be told they should not stay away from home overnight and people from outside will be advised not to visit Tier 4 areas.
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