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There are unconfirmed reports that the Southeast could enter Tier 4 at Christmas with the statutory “stay at home” message

The reports, which have not been confirmed by the authorities, state that Christmas bubbles are only allowed for levels 1-3 on Christmas Day

According to journalists from the Sunday Times, London, the South East and the East will be drawn into this new Tier 4

Caroline Wheeler, Assistant Political Editor for the Sunday Times, tweeted: “Christmas has been canceled for London, the South East and the East as the areas with the legal message of“ stay at home ”have moved to the new level 4

“Christmas bubbles are only allowed for levels 1 – 3 on Christmas Day with” Local message remaining ” International travel is not recommended. Latest plan ”

There are unconfirmed reports that Boris Johnson will announce that the Southeast will enter Tier 4 this afternoon

BBC News Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg then tweeted: “Cabinet members have been informed that the Prime Minister is expected to announce a stricter covid restriction on London and SE at 4pm this afternoon – and the proposed relaxation of the rules will restrict Christmas ”

Boris Johnson is holding emergency talks with cabinet ministers when scientists confirmed the new variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster

The move comes amid reports that the Prime Minister may order new travel restrictions in south east England to prevent them from spreading to the rest of the country

Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, said the UK had now notified the World Health Organization that it had concluded that the mutant strain could spread faster

“As announced on Monday, the UK has identified a new variant of Covid-19 through Public Health England genomic surveillance,” he said in a statement

“Due to the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary model data and rapidly increasing incidence rates in the Southeast, the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (NERVTAG) now believes the new strain can spread faster

“We have alerted the World Health Organization and are continuing to analyze the available data to improve our understanding

“There is currently no evidence that the new strain is causing a higher death rate or affecting vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is being done to confirm this

“With this latest development, it is more important than ever that the public continue to take action in their area to reduce transmission”

After the lunchtime conference call with ministers, Mr Johnson will hold a press conference with Prof Whitty and the government’s principal scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance

It is the second meeting in less than 24 hours that the Prime Minister has held on the issue – which underscores the strength of concerns about the new variant

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned of a “knife edge” as infections increased and hospital admissions increased

The latest development comes after Mr Johnson refused to rule out a third national lockdown on England – a move he was previously reluctant to consider

Wales and Northern Ireland have already announced new bans once Christmas is over, while the Scottish government has said the option is “on the table”

Much of the latest focus is on the south and east of England, where the new variant is believed to be the most common

On Friday, the NHS in Kent announced it would suspend non-urgent hospital procedures He treated double the number of patients at the height of the first wave in April

Latest figures from the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) showed that the R-number for the UK was estimated at 1, 1 and 12 – meaning the disease is growing again

At the same time, there are concerns about a possible spike in cases where the rules for shuffling households are relaxed over the Christmas period

Mr Hunt, who is now chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, said if the prime minister didn’t want to change the rules, he should at least consider stricter guidelines

He said the prospect of a New Year’s ban in England was up to date

“It’s a very difficult, balanced judgment. The biggest concern is what happens at indoor family gatherings, and the risks increase there,” he told BBC Radio 4

“I think they can be clearer about what is advisable and what is not because it would be an enormous tragedy if we saw an increase in deaths in late January / February because we stepped off the pedals so close to a vaccine””

The talks on Saturday came as much of south-east London and much of Essex and Hertfordshire followed suit, which entered the toughest Tier 3 restrictions earlier this week

The latest tiering changes in England, which went into effect at one minute past midnight on Saturday morning, mean 38 million people live in Tier 3, 68% of the population of England

The areas moving to the highest tier are Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, most of Surrey, Peterborough, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of East Sussex, and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire

Bristol and North Somerset have moved down from Tier 3 to Tier 2, while Herefordshire is dropping to Tier 1 – although the county public health director has raised concerns about the relaxation

More than 90 percent of hospital beds in the southeast are full as hospitals struggle with the coronavirus and winter pressures

The number of occupied NHS hospital beds is increasing daily and has reached the highest rate ever this year

Emergency doctors say hospitals are at a “really dangerous spot” because of queues, missing beds and staff sickness

The average percentage of beds occupied in NHS trusts in the Southeast region is now 902 percent – one of the highest rates in the country

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine: “We are at a really dangerous point that could make it incredibly difficult to deal with

“We have to get the virus under control and do whatever it takes. Brighton and Hove narrowly avoided being included in Tier 3 earlier this week

Just hours later, the city’s public health director Alistair Hill warned that coronavirus cases will increase “significantly” in the coming days

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World News – UK – Southeast ‘Might Enter Tier 4 By Law If They Stay Home’