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London will move into Tier 2 as political row engulfs Manchester restriction talks

 A man in a face mask in London, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a new three-tier system of alert levels for England following rising coronavirus cases and hospital admissions.
Harriet Line, Deputy Political Editor, David Hughes, Political Editor and Sam Blewett, Political Correspondent, PA

Millions of people in London will face tougher coronavirus restrictions banning households mixing indoors, but a political row has meant no decision has been made on Greater Manchester.

London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will move to the “high” Covid alert level from 0001 on Saturday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs.

The call between Greater Manchester leaders and 10 Downing St officials has concluded but there has been no agreement on new restrictions and there will be further meetings later today, a source said.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been resisting following the Liverpool City Region into Tier 3 restrictions.

 

The ban on households mixing indoors could be devastating for the capital’s 3,640 pubs and 7,556 restaurants – who will see business suffer but will not be eligible for Government support available to premises which have been ordered to close.

Matt Hancock said “things will get worse before they get better”.

He told the Commons: “The central change is that people cannot now meet other households socially indoors. This applies in any setting at home, or in a restaurant or in any other venue. The rule of six still applies in any outdoor setting and although you may continue to travel to open venues, you should reduce the number of journeys where possible.

“Now, I know that these measures are not easy but I also know that they are vital.

“Responding to this unprecedented pandemic requires difficult choices, some of the most difficult choices any Government has to make in peacetime.

“We make these decisions with a heavy heart with the sole aim to steering our nation through troubled waters.

“Things will get worse before they get better but I know that there are brighter skies and calmer seas ahead.”

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