Boris Johnson speech: PM says rise in coronavirus cases is 'flashing like warnings in a jet' as he unveils 3 tier system

Boris Johnson speech: PM says rise in coronavirus cases is 'flashing like warnings in a jet' as he unveils 3 tier system

BORIS Johnson tonight warned "we must act" as he said the rise in coronavirus cases was "flashing like warnings in a passenger jet".

The PM said tonight that Britain was entering a "new and crucial fight" after unveiled his new three tier lockdown system to fight coronavirus.

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It comes after he rejected the idea of a full national lockdown and "shuttering our lives and our society".

Speaking tonight flanked by Rishi Sunak and Professor Chris Whitty, he said: "No one, least of all me, wants to impose these erosions of our personal living."

He added: "The British people have the resolve to beat this virus and together we will do just that."

Rishi Sunak confirmed the job support scheme would last for at least 6 months to help protect jobs at businesses forced to shut due to Covid, and promised more welfare handouts for those struggling.

He said he wanted to help businesses keep their heads above water, announcing employers will still be able to pay you two thirds of normal salary with the government to cover the cost.

The Chancellor said: "Our winter economy plan will give people flexibility and certainly over the coming months, whether they are open or whether they are required to close, is all part of our plan to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people."


Earlier today in the Commons, Mr Johnson said Britain was becoming "better and better" at fighting this virus but needed to tread the "narrow path" to prevent the social and economic trauma of an "uncontained epidemic".

Under Mr Johnson's new three-tier system, areas of England will be ordered into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels.

Liverpool will be placed under the highest level, while Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire will be put under the second tier.

London, which is currently at the medium level, could be moved to the "high" tier "as soon as this week", a spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said.

Mr Johnson said today: "The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country.

"But I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed."

Mr Johnson said that those in the "very high" category would be reviewed every four weeks – saying nowhere would be shut down indefinitely.

HIGH ALERT: Local alert levels

BORIS Johnson today announced his new plan to control the spread of coronavirus with a three-tier system.

All areas in England, excluding those listed below, will be on the medium level.

Very High Level

Liverpool City Region

  • Liverpool
  • Knowsley
  • Wirral
  • St Helens
  • Sefton
  • Halton

High level:


  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Cheshire East

Greater Manchester

  • Manchester
  • Bolton
  • Bury
  • Stockport
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wigan
  • Salford
  • Rochdale
  • Oldham


  • Warrington


  • High Peak, the wards of:
  • Tintwistle
  • Padfield
  • Dinting
  • St John's
  • Old Glossop
  • Whitfield
  • Simmondley
  • Gamesley
  • Howard Town
  • Hadfield South
  • Hadfield North


  • Lancashire
  • Blackpool
  • Preston
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Burnely

West Yorkshire

  • Leeds
  • Bradford
  • Kirklees
  • Calderdale
  • Wakefield

South Yorkshire

  • Barnsley
  • Rotherham
  • Doncaster
  • Sheffield

North East

  • Newcastle
  • South Tyneside
  • North Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Sunderland
  • Durham
  • Northumberland

Tees Valley

  • Middlesbrough
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Stockton-on-Trees
  • Darlington
  • Hartlepool

West Midlands

  • Birmingham
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Wolverhampton
  • Walsall


  • Leicester
  • Oadby and Wigston


  • Nottinghamshire
  • Nottingham City

The PM said the new plan would help to simplify the current rules, adding: "This is not how we want to live our lives but it is the narrow path we have to tread."

And he said that while there was a "good chance" of a vaccine, it "cannot be taken for granted".

The number of coronavirus cases has so far quadrupled in the last three weeks with more people in hospital with the bug than when the country went into full lockdown in March.

Under the "very high" tier, it will be illegal to break any of the restrictions.

Matt Hancock has today been briefing local leaders over the new restrictions with Merseyside MPs told that all bars and pubs would be closed in Liverpool – but restaurants would remain open for now.

Liverpool – will go into level 3 restrictions, the highest alert possible, on Wednesday- with gyms and betting shops closed as part of the desperate attempt to stop the rising cases of coronavirus.

Greater Manchester was put on Tier 2 lockdown with Oldham to be brought into line with the regulations after being under enhanced lockdown.

Jim McMahon, Oldham West and Royton MP, said: "Call with the Secretary of State confirms Greater Manchester will be placed in Tier 2.

"Household restrictions on meeting indoors in any setting, but not outdoors.

"Pubs serving food remain open.

"Oldham will be removed from its enhanced lockdown measures and brought into line with Greater Manchester at last."

And one senior Conservative has said the British people need to “brace, brace” as the new rules will be “hard to stomach”.

It comes as…

  • Nightingales across the North are on standby as hospitals are four weeks off levels seen at the peak of virus
  • A senior Tory warned things may still get "sh****r yet" with Britain back to where we were in March
  • Businesses hit by the Tier 3 lockdowns will be able to apply for £3,000-a-month cash grants
  • UK coronavirus cases rose by 13,972 in the past 24 hours with another 50 fatalities
  • Most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held three weeks later to help soften the blow of the pandemic's disruption
  • The number of coronavirus patients in hospital is higher now than when the whole country was put into lockdown in March

The politician described the next phase as going to be “sh”, but warned that it “may get sh****r yet”.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said he was "sceptical" the Government had a plan to control the virus.

He said: "The question today is whether the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister can bring the country back from the brink, whether they can regain control of the virus and provide the support and confidence that local businesses and communities need. That is how high the stakes now are."

But Mr Johnson hit back, saying: "I strongly urge him to work out where he stands, to stop flip-flopping from one side to the next – or rather to go back to his previous position which was to support the restrictive measures where necessary to drive the virus down."

The PM announced businesses forced to shut under the strict new lockdown rules can apply for brand new £3,000-a-month cash grant under a £1billion scheme.

No10 later said pubs in Tier 3 areas could remain open it they operated as restaurants, saying they must serve "substantial meals" like lunch or dinner.

According to new stats released tonight, household infection rates in the North East, Yorkshire and The Humber and the North West have increased the most across England.

A huge spike was seen by the end of September and start of October in people aged between 10 to 29-years-old.

On Sunday night, the PM told the Cabinet the nation stands at a “critical juncture” and more must be done to avoid triggering full lockdowns.

Under the tier system, England will be placed into "medium", "high" and "very high" alert levels as part of the new restrictions.

Areas listed as medium will be subject to the same rules as those which currently apply across the country, such as the rule of six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.

In the high alert level, which will apply to most of the areas already subject to restrictions, household mixing will be banned indoors. Support bubbles will still be permitted, however.

The very high alert level will apply to areas causing the most concern, and social mixing will be prohibited indoors and in private gardens.

The new local lockdown alert level rules


  • National 10pm curfew
  • Rule of Six


  • The measures in place in "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 follow the rule of six in gardens and outdoor areas
  • People try reduce travel and cycle or walk where possible

Very High

  • Pubs and bars must close but can remain open when serving a "substantial" meal such as lunch or dinner
  • They can only serve alcohol when serving meal
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space.
  • People should avoid travelling outside their area, and others should avoid travelling to "very high" risk places except for work, school, accessing youth services, caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should not stay overnight in another area if they live in a "very high" area
  • People who live elsewhere should not stay overnight in "very high" area

Pubs and bars will be closed in the very high alert level areas unless they can operate as a restaurant. People will also be advised against travel in and out of the areas.

And Mr Johnson said there will be a four-week "sunset clause" for interventions in very high areas.

He said: "While these levels specifically apply to England, we continue to work closely with the devolved administrations to tackle this virus across the whole United Kingdom."

Nightingales across the North are now on standby as hospitals are four weeks off levels seen at the peak of virus, doctors have warned.

Speaking at a press briefing today, NHS England boss Professor Stephen Powis said Nightingales Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate have been asked to prepare to take patients.

Knowsley and Liverpool, two of the affected areas, are in the top three for infection rates in England – at 669.5 per 100,000 people and 598.5 respectively.

Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street today said he was "very disappointed" at the stricter measures in the region.

He said: "I am urging the Government to review this decision as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, the North East region was put into the "high" category.

Residents had already been told not to socialise with other people outside of their own households, with hospitality for food and drink restricted to table service only.

Leisure and entertainment venues were also required to close between 10pm to 5am.


Leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes tweeted: "I'm pleased that, for now, it's unlikely any further restrictions will apply in the North East.

"We need a period of stability and consistent rules, so everyone is clear what we all need to do."

MP for Birmingham Edgbaston Preet Kaur Gill confirmed the city will be in Tier 2 on the new alert system, following a briefing call with Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

She tweeted: "More than 45 minutes notice for the call would be appreciated next time though Matt!"

Meanwhile Lisa Nandy tweeted: "Just learnt Greater Manchester will be placed into tier 2 restrictions via twitter.

"Apparently there was a government briefing for Greater Manchester MPs but I can’t provide details because I wasn’t invited.

"I suspect this is because they don’t know where Wigan is. What an absolute shambles."

It comes after deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned there had been a surge in cases reported across the nation.

Prof Van-Tam said infections of the deadly bug were spreading from younger generations to more vulnerable groups.

"There is the spread from those younger age groups into the 60-plus age group in the North West and the North East, and there are rates of change in the same places but also extending a little further south," he said.

"And this is again of significant concern, because of course the elderly suffer a much worse course with Covid-19, they are admitted to hospital for longer periods, and they are more difficult to save."

However, the infection numbers have fallen far short of the doomsday predictions made by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty.

The scientists estimated there would be 50,000 cases reported a day by mid-October in a bleak warning issued on September 22.

Yesterday, official UK statistics showed 12,872 infections have been recorded in 24 hours.

Today, another 13,972 cases of coronavirus were reported with another 50 fatalities reported.

A senior Tory told Politico: “This is the moment where we enter the next phase.

“It’s going to be really hard to stomach, it’s going to go on for some time, and if people don’t follow the rules then we may have to go further still.

“People in all areas of the country should be under no illusion, we are back to where we were in March, this is going to be sh** and it may get sh**** yet.”

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool city region, said discussions on the new measures had been going on "all night".

He told BBC Breakfast he is wants to explain to the two million residents in the city that he has negotiated on their behalf.

Mr Rotheram said: "But also we wanted some surety from national government that if we hit some of the milestones we can come out of Tier 3 very quickly."

He said test and trace with "much more local control", issues around enforcement and "one or two other packages of support" around capacity for local authorities are already "in the bag" but that other details are being worked out.

And Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Cherpeau said businesses across the city are "bewildered, frustrated and angry".

Dr Jane Eddleston, medical lead in Greater Manchester, urged the public to "respect" the virus due to the "extremely serious" consequences it has for some patients.

She told the press briefing: "The North West has about 40 per cent of all Covid cases at the moment and this is proving very challenging for us.

"Within Greater Manchester, we have seen a threefold increase in the number of patients admitted to intensive care in the last five weeks and an eightfold increase in the number of patients admitted to our hospitals.

"The situation at the moment is that 30 per cent of our critical care beds are taken up with patients with Covid and this is starting to impact on the services we provide for other patients."

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