Boris Johnson has announced a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level and says the rules for Christmas have changed.
The decision comes after a sharp rise in infections being caused by the rapid spread of a new variant of COVID-19.
It’s thought the new strain can spread significantly more quickly and could increase R by 0.4 or more.
The following areas will move from Tier 3 to Tier 4:
Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings;
London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London); and
the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Essex excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).
People should not enter or leave Tier 4 areas, and Tier 4 residents must not stay overnight away from home.
He also said that given the risk the new variant poses, the Christmas bubble policy will no longer apply in Tier 4.
For Tiers 1, 2 and 3, Christmas bubbles can continue with up to three households able to meet, but for one day only on Christmas Day.