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Boris Johnson says the UK's increasing number of Covid-19 cases are "flashing like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet".
In a televised speech to the nation on Monday evening, the Prime Minister laid out the new Local Covid Alert Level system that will come into effect across England this week.
He was joined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
Johnson said the country has reached "a new and crucial phase" of the pandemic, with cases having risen four times in the last four weeks.
Covid-19 is once again spreading among the elderly and vulnerable, with hospital admissions higher than levels and Nightingale hospitals being warned to prepare for an influx of patients.
"These figures are flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet, and we must act now," Johnson said.
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He said urgent measures are needed to prevent the virus from overwhelming the NHS this winter, and the new system would be "simplifying, standardising and in some cases toughening" current restrictions.
However he also said another national lockdown would be "extreme" and "we don't want to go down that route now".
Johnson had already announced the three-tiered system in a statement to the House of Commons this morning, and earlier chaired a meeting of the Government's emergency COBRA committee to hash out the final details of the new measures.
The new Local Covid Alert Levels will be debated and voted on by MPs on Tuesday, and will come into effect on Wednesday.
Areas will be ordered into "medium", "high" and "very high" alert levels under the system.
Those living in a medium-alert area (Tier 1) will live with current national restrictions, including the 10pm curfew on hospitality and the Rule of Six.
Under high alert (Tier 2), household mixing indoors will be prohibited and the Rule of Six will apply outdoors.
In areas deemed very high risk (Tier 3), pubs and bars will be required to close unless they can operate as restaurants, along with gyms.
Household mixing will be banned except for in outdoor public spaces like parks. Those in Tier 3 areas will be "advised against" travelling in and out of the area unless necessary.
Overnight stays in other areas will also be banned.
The alert levels will be reviewed every four weeks and will not be in place indefinitely, Johnson said.
Areas going into Tier 3 (very high alert)
Liverpool city region: Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton and Halton.
Areas going into Tier 2 (high alert)
Cheshire: Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East.
Greater Manchester: Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Salford, Rochdale and Oldham.
Derbyshire: High Peak – the wards of: Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John's, Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South, and Hadfield North.
Lancashire: Lancashire, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn with Darwen, and Burnley.
West Yorkshire: Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, and Wakefield.
South Yorkshire: Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield.
North-east England: Newcastle, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham, and Northumberland.
Tees Valley: Middlesborough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington and Hartlepool.
West Midlands: Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Walsall.
Leicester: Leicester and Oadby and Wigston.
Nottingham: Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City.
Areas going into Tier 1 (medium alert)
All other regions of England
- Boris Johnson
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