How coronavirus tier system could be toughened for Christmas after December 2

The countdown to Christmas is on and many Brits will be thinking ahead to the festive period.

But when lockdown legally expires on December 2 there is still some debate about how best to take the country forward.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that England will be returned to the three-tired system that it was under before the shutdown.

Now fears are growing that the restrictions will be toughened up – and potentially threaten family get-togethers this Christmas.

On Monday Health Secretary Matt Hancock took to the podium to address the nation from Downing Street, Birmingham Mail reported.

The cabinet member seemed to hint that while the full lockdown will end as planned, tiers may be tougher going forward.

It comes after data revealed that the three-tiers previously used had seen vastly different results.

Susan Hopkins, a Public Health England advisor on Covid-19, said: "We have recognised that the tiering of the country has had a different effect in each area."

Dr Hopkins added: "We expect if the lockdown is working … that we will start to see cases decline over the next week.

"We expect it will be longer to see hospital admissions, another week or so, but I think as long as we start seeing cases decline then we can start making a judgment about what are the right decisions that we make and what the opening up decisions that happen on December 2."

And chief medical officer Christ Whitty previously said of the tiered system: “I think that the Prime Minister would probably want us to look at whether there should be variations on exactly the same tiering system, rather than just assuming we would just revert to an absolutely identical one.”

So what did the experts say this week about the tiers?

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Tier 3

Dr Hopkins explained that Tier 3 – especially Tier 3 ‘plus’ in the north – has had the desired effect in driving the number of coronavirus cases down.

In the north west, infections are slowing and the number of cases is now declining.

But Tiers 2 and 1 are not having the same affect.

Tier 2

Speaking about Tier 2 the expert said: “Tier 2 seems to hold in some areas and not so well in others so really it depends on how fast transmission is occurring and how well the individuals in the population are taking that advice in.

"We see very little effect of Tier 1.

"And I think when we look at what tiers may be there in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone."

Tier 1

Tier 1 has the loosest restrictions, with only the rule of six applying to gatherings pubs and restaurants, which have a 10pm curfew.

Gyms and hairdressers were open and trading with safety restrictions in place.

There were no travel restrictions, overnight stays were allowed and weddings, funerals and worship were allowed with restrictions.

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