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31 October 2020 00:32

Coronavirus Nottingham Warrington

Tier 4 lockdown could be introduced as Dominic Raab refuses to rule out stricter measures

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has refused to rule out the introduction of new "tier 4" coronavirus restrictions for England following dire warnings about the rising number of infections. Reports indicate that Boris Johnson's government is considering plans for a full, national lockdown before Christmas following a "very bleak" briefing from its top scientific advisers. Mr Raab insisted the government wanted to stick with its current approach based on local restrictions — but did not deny that even tougher measures for the worst-hit areas were now under discussion. Asked whether Downing Street could bring in a higher tier 4 level like Scotland, the cabinet minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're always ready for further measures we can take. "Having said that, we're confident we've got the right measures and framework in place … We're battling a second wave, and we're going to do everything we can in a targeted and focused way to repress and bring those numbers back down." Criticising the idea of a "blunt" nationwide lockdown, Mr Raab said the public would find it "desperately unfair" to impose one while infection rates vary across the country.

He told BBC's Breakfast: "I think in areas where the virus is not picking up, I think people would feel it was not only counterproductive or ineffective but desperately unfair for measures to be imposed across the board." England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam reportedly told ministers on Thursday that the rise in hospital admissions made the situation look "very, very bleak". The newspaper said Downing Street is now considering bringing in a full lockdown for England on either side of Christmas — with only a brief holiday window so people can meet family. Latest news straight to your inbox Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spoke to the BBC Radio 4's Today programme and said that the Government wasn't ruling anything out according to reports that Tier 4 or Tier 3-plus are being considered. Mr Raab also said the public would find it "desperately unfair" to impose a national lockdown while rates vary across the country, reports WalesOnline. The UK logged 274 new coronavirus deaths on Friday, just a few weeks after scientific experts warned the country is on course for a catastrophic second wave if more is not done to stem the spread of infections.

A government minister failed to rule out the a Tier 4 lockdown being imposed in England. One in five people in England will be living under the toughest coronavirus restrictions from Monday when West Yorkshire moves into Tier 3, but Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the country. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab did not deny that ministers are considering introducing a higher Tier 4 level of coronavirus restrictions. Asked about reports, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're always ready for further measures that we can take. Mr Raab also said the public would find it "desperately unfair" to impose a national lockdown while rates vary across the country.

"Also I think in areas where the virus is not picking up I think people would feel it was not only counterproductive or ineffective but desperately unfair for measures to be imposed across the board." It comes amid concerns the current tier system does not allow for the closure of schools, so 'local circuit breaker' lockdowns are also reportedly being considered for areas tier 3 restrictions have failed to bring the virus under control. Matt Hancock previously said the Government would "rule nothing out" on the prospect of a new fourth tier of restrictions. Tougher 'Tier 4' lockdown restrictions could be coming - but a national lockdown isn't the way to go, ministers insist. The Government has continued to defend the use of regional measures to fight rising Covid-19 rates, as the North East verges on Tier 3. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today refused to rule out introducing a fourth, even more restrictive tier of rules.

One in five people in England will be living under the toughest coronavirus restrictions from Monday when West Yorkshire moves into Tier 3, while 58% of the population will be living under either Tier 2 or 3 measures. Asked whether ministers had been given a "very, very bleak" presentation by scientists on Thursday about rising cases and the future death toll, Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are very careful to protect the integrity of the discussions and the information we have, but we do think the situation is serious. "Having said that, we're confident we've got the right measures and framework in place - which is not to have a blanket approach - with the target measures, both (in terms of) restrictions but also financial support on the areas where the uptick is the highest. Asked about the potential for introducing a Tier 4 higher level of restrictions, Mr Raab said introducing further measures is an option. He added: "The overwhelming scientific advice to us is targeted measures are the right way to go if you take them and you're committed to them, and we have not just the restrictions in place but the financial support.

On September 21, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government, said a series of measures should be considered for "immediate introduction", including a nationwide circuit-breaker and a ban on contact indoors with other households unless as part of a support bubble. But Mr Raab told BBC Breakfast the public would find it "desperately unfair" to face a national lockdown while rates vary across the country. "I think in areas where the virus is not picking up, I think people would feel it was not only counterproductive or ineffective but desperately unfair for measures to be imposed across the board," he said. Meanwhile, new data from NHS England shows the number of coronavirus patients in hospital beds has more than doubled in two weeks from 4,105 on October 13 to 8,595 on Tuesday. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a new tiered system of restrictions will come into force at 6am on Monday.