Dr Hilary has responded on GMB this morning to reports that the whole of England should be in tier 3 by Christmas.
It comes following some reports that all of England could be placed under the strictest coronavirus restrictions by mid-December.
The UK deaths hit their highest level in five months on Tuesday, when 367 new fatalities linked to coronavirus and nearly 23,000 more cases were recorded.
The Sun explained that SAGE member, Professor Sir Mark Walport said it is ‘not unrealistic’ to think that 25,000 people could be in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of November.
With total Covid related deaths reaching 61,000 across the nation, there are predictions that figures will be higher than the Spring peak come December.
Members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Body (Sage) are reportedly warning that virus rates all over the country will soar past the levels seen in areas in the North already.
A government source also told The Sun ‘the latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.’
According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘Downing Street is working on the assumption that the second wave of COVID-19 will be more deadly than the first.’
From next week parts of Nottinghamshire and Warrington will be placed into Tier Three.
This means that more than eight million people in England, predominantly in the North, will be under the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week.
The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, told Sky News: “The prime minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible.
“But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will become Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do.
“Obviously checking the spread of this virus is paramount, but alongside that we want people to live their lives as close to normal as possible, including at Christmas which is an incredibly important time for families.”
Dr Hilary Jones spoke on Good Morning Britain this morning explaining that a vaccine ‘won’t stop a rise in infections’.
Jones said: “Just look at the figures, the hospital admissions are increasing, doubling every two weeks. In a month from now, we’ll be worse than we were in the first wave.”
He said: “We can’t rely on a vaccine, we hope it will save people from dying but it won’t stop infections, not the early vaccine anyway.”
Adding that: “I think we still need to rely on the basic principles which is hands, face, space and if we all do that and we’re realistic and don’t say Christmas is an exception.
“If we make Christmas an exception, then every celebration will be an exception. A birthday, a Friday night, a promotion…”
Boris Johnson confirms England will return to three tier system from December 2nd
Boris Johnson addressed the Commons remotely today, to lay out his ‘Covid Winter Plan’.
The Prime Minister spoke to MPs via videolink as he is still self-isolating.
Mr Johnson confirmed that England would be returning to the regional three tier system which was in place before lockdown began.
However, he announced that the three tiers would each become stricter to try and stop the spread of the virus.
In Tier 1, people should work from home where it is possible, while in Tier 2 alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal, and in Tier 3 indoor entertainment, hotels and all hospitality will have to close – except for deliveries and takeaways.
Also in Tiers 1 and 2, the 10pm curfew for pubs and bars will end, with last orders being at 10pm and places closing at 11pm, allowing people to leave in a more staggered way.
The Prime Minister confirmed that gyms, salons and all shops could reopen at the end of lockdown, and that outdoor sports can resume, as well as some fans being allowed back in stadiums in Tier 1 and 2 areas.
Mr Johnson said that ‘more regions will temporarily fall into the higher levels’, but that with mass testing it should be possible for these areas to move into lower tiers.
Government is also working with the devolved administrations of the UK to come up with a plan for Christmas, according to the Prime Minister, although he added: “I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year”.
Morrisons gives 10% Christmas discount to frontline workers in 16 jobs
As a ‘thank you’ to thousands of frontline workers, Morrisons will be providing a 10% discount to people from now until Christmas.
Those employed in the emergency services, care workers and Armed Forces personnel who hold a Blue Light Card will qualify for the benefit at Morrisons stores.
Cardholders will be able to claim the 10% discount on their groceries by presenting their Blue Light ID Card at tills at any of Morrisons 498 stores.
Morrisons have launched the discount to show appreciation to the key workers who have gone above and beyond their usual roles throughout the pandemic this year.
People in these roles qualify:
- Ambulance Service
- Border Force
- British Army
- Fire Service
- HM Coastguard
- Prison Service
- Red Cross
- Reserve Armed Force
- Royal Air Force
- Royal Marines
- Royal Navy
- Social care workers
- HM Armed Forces Veterans
- Community First Responders
- Second Line Responders
David Potts, Morrisons’ chief executive said: “Our emergency services, social care sector and armed forces have worked tirelessly this year to provide support to the many people who need it across the UK, often in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
Matt Hancock says life could return to normal ‘after Easter’
Speaking on the latest vaccine news, Matt Hancock said things should return to some sense of normality after Easter.
He told BBC Breakfast that the majority of people will be vaccinated in spring, meaning things should return to normal after Easter.
It comes after the Oxford vaccine candidate has been demonstrated to be 90% effective, with health secretary Matt Hancock stressing that the majority of the population would need to be immunised before restrictions can be significantly eased.
The government has pre-ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine which is reportedly cheaper and easier to store than the Pfizer and Moderna alternative.
The Oxford vaccine has proved to be between 70 and 90% effective based on a trial of 20,000 people.
Hancock explained that the ‘bulk’ of the vaccines will be given in the new year with some getting the vaccine before Christmas.
He said: “It is subject to that regulatory approval and I really stress that because the medicines regulator, it’s called the MHRA, is independent, they’re rigorous, they’re one of the best regulators in the world.
“They will be very, very careful to ensure that they look at all the data to make sure that this is safe. Subject to that approval, we hope to be able to start vaccinating next month.
“The bulk of the vaccine rollout programme will be in January, February, March, and we hope that sometime after Easter things will be able to start to get back to normal.”
The news comes following the expected announcement later today with the government’s plans for winter.
It is expected a tiered system, stricter than the previous one will be put in place post-Lockdown 2.0 to allow families to celebrate Christmas.
Mr Hancock said: “The number of cases is now clearly starting to fall across the whole of the UK.
“In England, we come to the end of the lockdown as you know on December 2nd, and so we do think that we can replace the lockdown with a tiered system. But the tiered system, whilst lighter than lockdown, will have to be stronger than the previous tiers that were in place.”
When asked if there will be a fourth tier, Mr Hancock said: “No, three tiers, but the top tier, tier 3, will have to be stronger than the previous tier 3.”
The new local tiered rules are expected to be accompanied by more mass testing programmes similar to that in Liverpool.
Mr Hancock said cases in Liverpool – the worst affected city in the UK – have been brought down ‘really quite remarkably’ following the rollout.
He said: “In Liverpool, cases are down by more than two-thirds in the last few weeks.
“And this is a combination, of course, of those restrictions that have been in place, but also in Liverpool we put in mass testing.
“They’ve tested over 200,000 people of the just over half a million who live in Liverpool. And they’ve found a load more people who were asymptomatic, didn’t know that they had a problem, didn’t know they have the virus.
“And the combination of the mass testing, and the measures in Liverpool, have brought the cases down really quite remarkably, much faster than I would have thought was possible.”