U.K. has new coronavirus restrictions as cases surge — Here’s how the system will work

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a three-tier system of local Covid-19 alert levels. The “very high” level will be applied to areas where the transmission of the coronavirus is rising rapidly. Johnson said the city of Liverpool would be placed on “very high” alert from Wednesday. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi

The British government has outlined further restrictive measures for England, including a three-tier system of local lockdowns, as it attempts to curb a rapid increase in coronavirus infections.

Speaking to the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he understood the frustration of those who had been “chafing” under the current restrictions. However, he added: “We can’t let the virus rip … I believe not to act would be unforgivable.”

He outlined a three-tier system of local Covid-19 alert levels — “medium,” “high” and “very high” — which will classify regions based on the severity of their infection rate, with differing levels of restrictions for each level.

The prime minster said the “medium” level applied to the majority of England, and encompassed the current restrictions which include banning groups of more than six people meeting up and forcing pubs and restaurants to close at 10 p.m.

The “high” level applied to the areas of England already in local lockdown, where residents are not allowed to mix with other households or meet up unless outside. Local lockdowns are currently in place across much of northern England, and some other areas where infection rates have soared since the national lockdown was lifted in the summer.

The “very high” level will be applied to areas where the transmission of the coronavirus is rising rapidly. In these areas, pubs and bars, gyms, betting shops and casinos will be closed. Johnson announced that, from Wednesday, the city of Liverpool would be placed on “very high” alert.

Shops, schools and universities will remain open, Johnson added.

The U.K. government has been criticized for the complexity of its local lockdown measures, which differ from area to area. It is hoping the new tiered system will help to simplify things.

In Scotland and Wales, meanwhile, pubs and restaurants have already been closed in some areas, and Wales has also imposed some restrictions on movement.

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