New plans are being put in place to add an additional level of restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 that could lead to the closure of non-essential restaurants and stores if infection rates fail in England.
Swaths of the Northeast have been shuttered in local Level 3 lockdowns in recent weeks, which have seen bars and pubs close and a ban imposed on various family meetings.
Whitehall officials are now considering using short-term local circuit breaker shutdowns to reduce infection rates, while a fourth tier could be added to the government’s current system, which ranks local alert levels below medium, high and extremely high.
This comes as Professor Neil Ferguson has suggested that some students should be sent home from school to prevent further infection.
Level 3 restrictions in the North, including in Manchester, pubs and medium bars have been forced to close and families are asked not to mix. Officials say they will be able to see if these measures are sufficient by mid-November
According to The I, sources in Whitehall expect it will be clear by mid-November whether the current restrictions are reducing the numbers of daily cases.
On Friday, Wales entered into a “ fire fracture ” lockdown, which saw all non-essential retail, leisure and hospitality businesses shut down until November 9.
Similar to the national lockdown in March, residents of Wales have been told that they can only leave the house for a limited number of reasons, such as playing sports, providing care, or purchasing essentials.
A dispute erupted over the sale of essential items after supermarkets were seen ringing the aisles and covering some products.
Prime Minister Mark Drakford tweeted yesterday: “We will review how the weekend has gone with supermarkets and make sure common sense is in effect.
Supermarkets can sell anything that can be sold in any other type of store that is not required to be closed. Meanwhile, please only leave the house if you need to.
Supermarkets in Wales cordoned off their store aisles after Wales imposed a ban on “nonessential items”, causing confusion among shoppers
Lidl closed all of their “non-essential” lanes in Porthmadog before 6 p.m. Friday, but Prime Minister Wells Mark Drakeford said supermarkets could sell “anything that could be sold in any other kind of store.”
Meanwhile, experts said that a 16-day circuit breaker in Scotland, which was extended for another week, had little effect on coronavirus infections – which are waning.
Nicola Sturgeon’s scientific advisers warned themselves Thursday that “it is too early to discover any impact on transmission from the restrictions imposed on October 9”.
Yesterday Professor Neil Ferguson, whose models led to the original nationwide shutdown in March, warned that schools may have to close their doors to older pupils if home restrictions fail to have an effect.
The government’s tiered program currently does not allow schools to be closed.
The effectiveness of the “circuit breaker” closures has been questioned after Nicola Sturgeon’s scientific advisers warned that “it is too early to discover any effect on transmission from the restrictions imposed on October 9”
Professor Ferguson told BBC Radio 4: “This (ban on mixing of families) should have a big impact but we haven’t yet been able to see it definitively.
If we go beyond that, there is a limit to what we can do in terms of limiting connections, except to start targeting, for example, older years in sixth grade schools and colleges where we know older teens are capable of sending as adults. .
Of course, no one wants to start transitioning to virtual education and closing schools, even partially. The challenge might be that we are unable to beat the transmission in another way.
Professor Neil Ferguson said experts had not been able to see the ultimate effect of the Tier 3 measures, adding that older pupils could be sent home from school to prevent infection.
Britain recorded 23,012 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, while 174 people died – 141 from England.
The government has informed local leaders that Tier 3 areas need to reduce social contact by 60 percent.
On Friday, five Army and Navy environmental health officers trained on Disease Outbreak Management were deployed in Liverpool on Friday, as the British Army was enlisted in support of Level 3 lockdown measures.
They have been Mandated to identify clusters of local infections, help control outbreaks and take action against companies that do not comply with Covid-19 rules.
It is believed that more teams will be transferred to other high-risk areas in the coming weeks.
Liverpool workers council member Paul Brant told The I that he expects to see Level 3 rules have some effect on Covid infection rates.
He added, “Our fear is that Sage is right in saying that it will not be sufficient to push R below 1. Even if it falls below 1, actual state levels have now risen rapidly.
We know from the first wave that infection levels can rise very quickly and fall very slowly, so we can find ourselves in a situation where the R has drifted downwards but the absolute numbers were not.
If the numbers do not improve significantly, there is no doubt that we will revisit the exact same questions about whether additional restrictions will be necessary to bring levels down. This is the argument for a short, blunt trauma.
Professor Neil Ferguson said the Christmas easing was ultimately a political decision.
He said: It has transmission risks and that will have consequences. Some people will die from the infection that day.
But if it’s only a day or two, the effect is likely to be limited. So this is really a political judgment about cost versus benefits.
What are the rules at different levels of lock?
Tier 1 restrictions reflect those already in place throughout England.
This includes rule six, a 10 p.m. curfew, outdoor team sports only and a maximum of 15 wedding guests.
Level two restrictions mean that people are forbidden from communicating with anyone outside their home or the support bubble anywhere inside
Two families may be allowed to meet in a private garden and public outdoor spaces, as long as the rule of six and social distancing are followed.
Dealers – like plumbers and electricians – can keep going home for work.
The third level
Restaurants can be opened but only until 10pm.
Pubs and bars will be requested to close unless they are also operating as a restaurant.
This definition extends to bars that sell “big” meals, which like restaurants will be allowed to stay open but only serve alcoholic drinks to people who have a meal.
Locals are only advised to leave their areas for essential travel such as work, education or health, and they should return before the end of the day.
Overnight accommodations are also prohibited for those outside of these “high risk” areas. Families are not allowed to mix either indoors or outdoors.
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