This is what Leeds' lockdown could look like after Boris Johnson's announcement

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline what the new three-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions will be in the House of Commons tomorrow (Monday).

By Joe Cooper
Sunday, 11th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th October 2020, 6:27 pm

Millions of people across the country could be banned from mixing indoors and outdoors and thousands of pubs forced to close in a bid to keep the virus under control.

Under the proposed three-tier system, different parts of the country would be placed in different categories, with areas in the highest level expected to face the toughest restrictions.

Police patrolling the streets during the lockdown in May.

The exact details of each tier, including the level of infection at which an area would qualify for it and the nature of the restrictions, are being debated this weekend.

We know the infection rate in Leeds on Friday was 379.9 cases per 100,000 people - placing the city among the areas with the worst hit areas of the country.

Bars and restaurants in tier three areas are expected to be forced to close.

Pub and restaurants in Leeds are expected to be forced to close.

Household mixing in homes and gardens is already illegal in Leeds, but further restrictions on movements outside of the home could follow.

Documents leaked to the media earlier this month suggested tier three would include no social contact outside your own household in any setting and restrictions on overnight stays away from home.

No organised non-professional sports or other communal hobby groups or activities would be permitted, the document also said.

In Liverpool, which is also expected to be put into tier three, pubs, bars, gyms, casinos and bookmakers are expected to close, while restaurants, schools and universities would remain open, according to national reports.

The Conservative Mayor of the Tees Valley Ben Houchen has said the third tier restrictions are expected to run in four-week blocks, with pubs and bars being required to close and no household mixing will be allowed for socialising either indoors or outdoors.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday the government has been "designing" restrictions for COVID hotspots "in conjunction with people who know those places best".

Asked on what basis areas will move between tiers that could carry a harsher lockdown, he said people would need to "wait to see what the PM says" but a range of different factors have been taken into account.

Cases per 100,000 are "significant" - but also hospitalisations and the nature of infections, he said.

"Though the number of cases is rising rapidly across the country there are still huge variations," he said. "If you go to North Norfolk the latest statistics showed that the number of cases is around 19, if you go to Manchester it's well over 500.

"So, it is right that we pursue a localised approach. That must be the way forward because none of us want to see a return to blanket national measures - that would be the alternative."

Leaders across the north of England have criticised the plans, accusing the Government of treating the region as “second-class” and did not rule out possible legal action.

The leaders of West Yorkshire councils, including Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake, also warned on Friday that “significantly” more financial support was needed to prevent an even deeper economic catastrophe.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was also critical of the business aid package and said the Government had “lost sight of the guiding principle” that restrictions are always accompanied by appropriate economic support.

But the Sunday Times reported plans are being drawn up to give local leaders powers to deploy an army of volunteer contact tracers as well as giving local authorities more control over mobile testing units and walk-in centres.

A Government spokeswoman said all financial support will be kept under review, to support businesses and protect jobs over the coming weeks and months.

Meanwhile England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the country is at a tipping point similar to the first wave of coronavirus, but can prevent history repeating itself.

He said the best way to keep transmission low and stop the NHS being overwhelmed was for people to follow self-isolation guidance, wash their hands, wear face coverings and social distance.

He added: “Earlier in the year, we were fighting a semi-invisible disease, about which we had little knowledge, and it seeded in the community at great speed.

“Now we know where it is and how to tackle it – let’s grasp this opportunity and prevent history from repeating itself.”

In North Wales, new coronavirus restrictions were introduced in Bangor at 6pm on Saturday, meaning people will not be allowed to enter or leave the area without a “reasonable excuse” and can only meet people they do not live with outdoors, it said.