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Worst-hit areas face strict new Covid rules

Tighter controls: Robert Jenrick PICTURE: ITV/REX

AN EXTRA level of restrictions may be introduced when England returns to the regional tier system after the full national lockdown expires next month, a minister has warned.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said the government wanted to see a ‘significant easing’ of Covid-19 controls from December 2.

But he said the list of rules in the top tier, three, may have to be added to. Asked if a fourth tier could be introduced, he told BBC Breakfast: ‘We haven’t come to a decision on that.’

He said in his area, Nottinghamshire, there had been some ‘tweaks to the tiers that you’re seeing in some parts of the country and it’s that sort of thing that we now need to consider’.

Health secretary Matt Hancock told MPs in the Commons it was ‘too early’ to say what rules would be needed after December 2.

The British Medical Association said the tier system was ‘inadequate’ and, having failed to contain the spread of the virus, must be revised before the lockdown ends.

Scotland — which has a system of five tiers, from zero to four — has deployed its highest level of restrictions for the first time.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that 11 council areas will move in to tier four from Friday.

She is also making it illegal for people in tier three or four to travel outside their local council area unless it is essential.

Another 598 virus deaths were reported yesterday, bringing the UK total to 52,745. There were 20,051 new cases recorded.