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Both Cheshire’s councils have been named as “high alert” areas on the government’s new coronavirus ranking, writes Ethan Davies.

The news was confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon.

The new ‘tier’ system was designed to “simplify and standardise local rules” according to the PM, and has seen many northern boroughs added to the list.

Mr Johnson said Cheshire’s move to this tier was “primarily to reduce household to household transmission”.

But he warned that “further restrictions on the hospitality sector” could be imposed if infection rates did not fall.

He also rejected calls for an all-out spring-style lockdown, saying: “I do not believe [that is] the right course.

“We would only be depriving children of their education. We would do such damage to the economy to erode the NHS and public services.”

For residents, it means mixing between households will be banned indoors, although support bubbles will still be permitted. The rule of 6 remains in force for meetings outside.

Responding, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “We are at a critical moment. We have all seen the clear and alarming trend in infection rates.

“We will look at the small print of the statement and we will discuss them with local mayors and councillors in the affected areas.

“I have to say to the Prime Minister — I am deeply skeptical that the government has a plan to get control of this virus.

“It increasingly feels like the Prime Minister is several steps behind the curve.”

Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils have been contacted for comment.

According to the Government website tonight, the new “high alert” areas are subject to the following additional measures above “medium”:

– People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
– People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space
– People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible
– If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

Areas on “medium” alert remain under the current national restrictions, which are:

– All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
– Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
– Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
– Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
– Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
– Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
– People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors

2 Comments

  1. Mrs B Smith says:

    I didn’t hear him say Cheshire was in high risk tier. Liverpool is

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