The Government’s timetable for COVID-19 tier reviews has been pre-empted with the imposition of extra restrictions on London.
The capital, four districts in Hertfordshire and most of Essex will be moved from tier two to tier three on Wednesday, ahead of the first scheduled review, Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.
He told MPs: ‘When the virus move quickly, we must move quickly too.’
The change of course has been prompted as cases in London increased from 186 per 100,000 in November to 506 currently.
It is thought a new variant of the virus that spreads faster may have contributed to the increase.
Also moving to tier three will be Watford, Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Broxbourne in Hertfordshire and Basildon, Brentwood, Harlow, Epping Forest, Castle Point, Rochford, Maldon, Braintree, Chelmsford, Thurrock and Southend in Essex.
In a letter to Conservative MPs earlier this month, Mr Hancock had said the Government would ‘assess each area individually’ but warned of the dangers of ‘carve-outs’, writing that there was a risk of areas with lower numbers of cases ‘catching up’ with worse-hit neighbours if they are ‘decoupled’.
The letter followed indications from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson that a more ‘granular’ approach may be taken.
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