Matt Hancock statement today: what did the Health Secretary announce in his speech, and which areas are getting Tier 2 and Tier 3 lockdowns?

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Hancock was expected to announce tougher lockdown restrictions on parts of the North East, North West and Midlands

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has given a coronavirus update today (15 October), during which he announced the imposition of Tier 2 lockdown measures on more English regions.

Just days after England’s tiered system of restrictions came into force - with the city of Liverpool facing the toughest measures - York, London and Essex are being bumped up to tier 2, among other areas.

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These are the cities facing ‘very high’ Tier 3 Covid-19 alert restrictions
(Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)(Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
(Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Delivering a statement to the Commons, the health secretary said "things will get worse before they get better".

Here is everything you need to know.

What did Matt Hancock announce?

Mr Hancock confirmed the latest coronavirus figures and gave an update on changes to restrictions in areas of the North East, North West and Midlands.

(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Ahead of his address to parliament, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle, and parts of Lancashire were all said to be at risk of being plunged into a stricter tier 3 lockdown, as infection rates continue to climb.

Those places all escaped the imposition of a tier 3 lockdown and will remain as they were, though other areas of England will be moved on to tier 2 Covid measures from Saturday 17 October, with a ban on households mixing indoors.

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The areas to go into high alert restrictions this weekend are:

- London

- Essex

- Elmbridge in Surrey

- Barrow in Furness, Cumbria

- York

- North East Derbyshire

- Chesterfield

- Erewash, Derbyshire

Did Manchester get moved to tier 3?

Despite speculation that Greater Manchester and areas of Lancashire could be moved to tier 3 – the level with the toughest restrictions – there was no confirmation of this in Hancock’s address.

Before Hancock spoke, business minister, Nadhim Zahawi, appeared to suggest it was a foregone conclusion that Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire would have the most severe measures imposed when discussing a phone call this morning between the region’s MPs and a health minister.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said, “I hope that they can be at the meeting and make time for that meeting so they can hear from the chief medical officer, from the deputy chief medical officer, as to why we’re having to take this action.”

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But a decision has yet to be made on that front, with Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Greater Manchester, saying there was "unanimous fury" from the people on the call.

"We want action but it has to be the right action because we’ve lived in tier 2 now for nearly three months and it’s not worked," she said in the House of Commons.

Did Hancock announce a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown?

There have been recent calls by senior politicians - including from Labour leader Keir Starmer –-for a national, “circuit breaker” lockdown.

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson to impose even stricter lockdown restrictions, after SAGE scientists advised that a fortnight of nationwide restrictions could help bring Covid-19 infection rates under control and save thousands of lives by the end of the year.

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A circuit breaker lockdown involves a two week long national lockdown, which would see certain businesses forced to close or be regulated, including pubs, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities.

Household mixing indoors would be banned to help limit the risk of transmission, while travel would be limited to essential purposes only.

However, schools and essential workplaces would remain open, after the Prime Minister previously stated that keeping children in school is a “national priority.”

Mr Hancock did not announce a circuit breaker lockdown as part of his statement.