Will Newcastle go into Tier 4?
A senior Government minister has refused to rule out moving England entirely into Tier 4 restrictions as coronavirus rates rise again.
The move would essentially see England return to the restrictions imposed during the November lockdown. Non-essential retailers, gyms, hairdressers, barbers and sports facilities would all have to close.
It is highly likely that more parts of England will be moved to Tier 4, while Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has not ruled out enforcing Tier 4 across the whole country.
Mr Gove told BBC Breakfast: “We review which tiers parts of the country should be in on the basis of scientific evidence.
“The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) will be making a recommendation to ministers, but I can’t pre-empt that because it obviously has to be a judgment based on the medical situation.
“As you quite rightly point out, the NHS is under pressure and these are difficult months ahead.”
There are currently more Covid-19 patients in England’s hospitals than in the April 2020 peak, as a new, more transmissible variant of the coronavirus sweeps through England.
Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said: “Many of us have lost family, friends, colleagues and – at a time of year when we would normally be celebrating – a lot of people are understandably feeling anxious, frustrated and tired.
“And now again we are back in the eye of the storm with a second wave of coronavirus sweeping Europe and, indeed, this country.”