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23 December 2020, 07:05 | Updated: 23 December 2020, 07:13
Some scientists believe whole of England will have to be put into lockdown.
The government is reportedly considering another national lockdown in England from Boxing Day.
A Gold Command meeting of public health chiefs and ministers is said to have been held on Tuesday evening to discuss what can be done to contain the new strain of coronavirus.
While London and much of the South East is currently under Tier 4 restrictions, according to The Mirror, ministers have not ruled out putting the whole nation into a third lockdown after Christmas.
The tier system is due to be reviewed on December 30, but the publication has suggested that an announcement could be held as early as Wednesday.
Epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Sage scientific advisory panel, has also suggested tougher lockdown restrictions are needed.
He told the BBC: “The Government have actually acted pretty fast.
“It depends now on how effective these measures are and how widespread the virus is.
“Unfortunately, it does look like the virus is probably across the country already and so I do think that we might unfortunately have to impose tougher restrictions across the country.”
It was also discussed that Birmingham would be moving from tier three into tier four before December 25, but this is said to have been delayed.
The Sun reports Birmingham would join London and several other areas across the country as early as December 26.
This comes as Sir Patrick Vallance said cases of the mutant strain had spread ‘everywhere’ in the UK and warned the country to prepare for more restrictions in the New Year.
He said: “I think it is likely that this will grow in numbers of the variant across the country and I think it’s likely, therefore, that measures will need to be increased in some places, in due course, not reduced.”
Ministers are also said to be considering keeping schools closed at the beginning of January, with some scientists concerned the new strain spreads faster among the under 15s.