#coronavirus


Prime Minister Boris Johnson will publish a Covid Winter Plan tomorrow confirming that lockdown will end on December 2.

The second national lockdown came into force on November 5 as the government sought to stifle a significant spike in coronavirus infections across the UK.

The PM said the lockdown was due to end on December 2, but there have been suggestions from government officials, including Michael Gove, that the restrictions may have to continue if infection rates were not brought down.

But now Mr Johnson has confirmed that England will move back into a three-tiered, regional set of restrictions after that date, ending the four-week lockdown.

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While some local measures will be similar to those in place previously, the tiers will also be strengthened in some areas to ensure infection rates do not go back up.

It is expected that more areas will be placed into the higher tiers in order to keep the virus under control so further national restrictions are not required.

The Prime Minister is set to say these restrictions will not last any longer than necessary to protect livelihoods and support the economy.

The tiers will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with the latest data, keeping measures under ongoing review.

Watch: Public reacts to potential further lockdown after Christmas

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Provided vaccines are approved by regulators, the first injections can be made next month before being rolled out more widely in the new year.

The plan is set to be discussed and signed off by Cabinet on Sunday, and announced by the Prime Minister in parliament on Monday.

It will also set out how people will be able to see their loved ones at Christmas, despite ministers being clear this will not be a normal festive period.

SAGE are likely to publish further papers on Monday, setting out the scientific advice that the previous tiers were not strong enough, and that a tougher regional approach is required.

On Thursday, ministers will announce which areas will be placed into which tier, which will be based on the latest data and impact of national restrictions.

MPs will be able to vote on the tiering system before it comes into force.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: “Everyone’s efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased pressures on the NHS.

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“But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisors are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

“That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS.”

The Covid Winter Plan will also set out how scientific advances in vaccination, treatments and testing will help enable life to gradually return closer to normal.



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