Coronavirus UK news latest – Brits ordered to STAY HOME for New Year tonight with 45million now in Tier 4 covid lockdown

MILLIONS more Brits have been plunged into harsh Tier 4 lockdowns.

Three quarters of England are now living in Tier 4 restrictions, meaning most of the country is now in some form of lockdown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock put a further 20 million people into the toughest Tier 4 and upgraded millions to Tier 3. No areas will remain Tier 2.

Only 2,000 people living on the Isles of Scilly will remain in Tier 1. 

It came after a further 981 people died of coronavirus, with 50,023 new infections confirmed.

Follow the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.

  • Sarah Grealish


    With a second Covid vaccine approved and set for roll out, everyone wants to know when they will be given their jab.

    This online calculator can help you work out how long you might have to wait – and how many people are in front of you in the queue.

    Based on the Government's priority list, it considers your age, your health, and whether you work in the NHS.

    It comes after a vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca was approved for use in the UK today.

    The first jabs are expected to be given on Monday – with 24 million people immunised by Easter.

  • Sarah Grealish


    The public is being urged to "take personal responsibility" by acting like they have coronavirus and staying at home this New Year's Eve.

    People are being warned they should not be mixing with other households indoors and that they should avoid large gatherings of any kind.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people "cannot let up" now in the fight against the virus, with the health service under strain from increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients.

    Mr Hancock said: "With our NHS under pressure we must all take personal responsibility this New Year's Eve and stay at home.

    "Now more than ever, we need to pull together to save lives and protect our NHS. If we continue to do our bit by staying at home, we can get through this together."

  • Sarah Grealish


    Of the 211,914 people transferred to the Test and Trace system in the week to December 23, 85.8% were reached and asked to provide details of recent close contacts.

    This is down from 88.6% in the previous week and is the lowest percentage since the week to October 28.

    Some 12.8% of people transferred to Test and Trace in the week to December 23 were not reached while a further 1.3% did not provide any communication details.

  • Sarah Grealish


    China has reported its first case of the new UK COVID variant.

    A Woman, 23, who arrived in Shanghai from Britain on December 14 has been diagnosed with the mutant strain.

  • Sarah Grealish


    The 2021 New Year Honours List has been published with many awards going to those who helped during the coronavirus crisis.

    In the full list of names and honours awarded, Covid-19 is mentioned 228 times.

    Among the recipients are NHS heroes who have battled to save lives, and others who spent their time spreading kindess.

    Also recognised were public figures including Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, DJ Craig David and actress Sheila Hancock.

    Read the fill list here.

  • Sarah Grealish


    While the government relaxed the rules for parts of the UK on Christmas Day, this does not include the New Year.

    Those wanting to party will have to do so with their household only.

    There will also be restrictions on going to the pub or a restaurant, although this depends on what tier you live in.

    The government's guidance says: "You must follow the rules on where you can go and who you can meet, including on New Year’s Eve.

    "Your Christmas bubble will no longer apply."

    London's traditional fireworks display has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Sarah Grealish


    The UK's largest independent brewery has offered all of its venues to the UK and Scottish government to be used as immunisation centres for the Covid-19 jab.

    BrewDog's offer has already been picked up on by Nicola Sturgeon, who said she would pass the suggestion to her vaccination team this morning.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock was also approached by BrewDog co-owner James Watt, when he tweeted the offer earlier today.

    The Aberdeen-based beer company says it already has many of the configurations required to set up an immunisation centre.

  • Sarah Grealish


    the fireworks display at the London Eye on the River Thames has been the highlight of many New Year celebrations.

    It has been a staple for the last 21 years as people tune in or line up on the surrounding banks to witness the show.

    But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fireworks show has been cancelled at the London Eye.

    Instead, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, revealed earlier this week that there will be a special broadcast that can be watched on TV.

    He tweeted on December 27: "New Year's Eve is traditionally an opportunity to show off our great city to the rest of the world. Our show this year will be unique – you'll only be able to watch from, on the BBC."

    Meanwhile, to replace the cancelled London Eye show, there will be a pre-recorded light show video released across their social media channels at 4pm on New Year's Eve.

    Credit: PA:Press Association
  • Sarah Grealish


    GPs are being offered £10 for every care home resident they vaccinate in a drive by NHS England to reach the majority of those deemed top priority by the end of January.

    NHS staff will now also be prioritised following the approval of the Oxford vaccine, the health service said.

    Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: "Three-quarters of a million people have now received the Pfizer vaccine thanks to the tireless efforts of NHS staff who have given up time with their families over Christmas to deliver vaccines at the same times as treating record numbers of seriously-ill patients with Covid-19.

    "As we head into the New Year with a second vaccine that is also more versatile, we will be able to expand the programme and ensure that the majority of care home residents are protected within the next four weeks or so.

    "It is also great news that we will be able to begin vaccinating NHS staff serving on the frontline to protect them against coronavirus."

  • Sarah Grealish


    LOCKED down Brits spent an extra £2billion on booze this year — but £47million less on deodorant.

    Supermarkets reported a massive spike in sales of “sin products” such as alcohol, tobacco and processed meat.

    But they also saw a dramatic fall in sales of personal grooming items such as deodorant, hairstyling products, lipstick and toothbrushes.

    Read the full story here.

  • Sarah Grealish


    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said the military "stands ready" to help staff Nightingale hospitals if the NHS exceeds its capacity of critical care beds.

    Speaking to Times Radio, the Defence Secretary said: "Of course we stand ready to help with Nightingales if the critical pressures go beyond the capacity of the existing NHS.

    "We are on, I think, 17,000 ventilator beds currently being used of a capacity of 21,000.

    "If it starts to tip over there, then of course you'll see those Nightingales being more active and, yes, we have a number of medical staff."

  • Sarah Grealish


    It has been named VUI – 202012/01 – the first variant under investigation in December.

    It was first identified in September, according to scientists at COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK), who have been working with Public Health England (PHE).

    The first case was found in Kent on September 20, followed by London the next day, according to a report on behalf of COG-UK.

    Now, the strain accounts for over 60 per cent of infections in London, according to Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, up from 28 per cent in early November.

    Government scientists at PHE's Porton Down lab are analysing the strain to assess how dangerous it is, but so far there is no sign it can cause more severe disease.

  • Sarah Grealish


    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said up to 250 teams of combat medics could be made available to help deliver the Covid-19 vaccine rollout across the country.

    Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Wallace said: " We've already put 133 (army medics) into the overall vaccine taskforce but I've also got plans for up to 250 teams of mobile, medically-trained personnel who could go out and administer the vaccine around the country.

    "That would be over 100,000 a day they could potentially deliver if that is requested by the NHS – and we are planning to grow that if possible."13 HEALTH Coronavirus Latest

    The Defence Secretary has said most military doctors are already working in the NHS, but hundreds of combat medics are available to help with the Covid-19 response.

    He continued: "What people need to understand is that a lot of our clinicians in the armed forces are also clinicians in the NHS, so they are often military reservists."

  • Sarah Grealish


    Furious residents of the Scilly Isles have blasted Covidiots travelling from the mainland as the islands are the only place in the UK with open pubs.

    Islanders have shared fears their coveted Tier 1 status will see Brits fleeing the UK for a virus-free break – and some say outsiders have already arrived.

    Linda Thomas, a 69-year-old librarian from St Mary's, said the news Scilly stays open is "no time for jubilation".

    She said residents worry about their relatives on the mainland and the risk of the virus coming to the isles – which only have one small hospital and a high elderly population.

    "Having seen our family and friends in Cornwall go from a Tier 1 to a Tier 3 in under a week because of mindless selfish people from higher tiers travelling down is very disturbing," Ms Thomas told the PA news agency.

    "We know that some of these people were heading to the islands and I have no doubt that some made it."

  • Sarah Grealish


    A national lockdown by the end of January is likely, a SAGE doctor has warned this morning.

    It comes after the Government ruled out a Tier 5 lockdown for now, which could see all schools closed in a further step to stop the mutant Covid spread.

    Doctor Mike Tildesley told BBC Radio 4: “Cases are rising in a really concerning way, so I suspect that unfortunately we will see a ramping-up even further of restrictions, probably more of the country being in Tier 4 or ultimately probably a national lockdown before we get to the end of January.”

  • Sarah Grealish


    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has insisted that exams will go ahead in the summer.

    Asked to guarantee that they would take place, he told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "Yes – that's why we took the move to keep those children who are in those exam cohorts – those exam years, so Year 11 and Year 13 – still coming into school from January 11.

    "Making sure that the first ones back into school, into secondary schools, even in those areas that have those extra restrictions that are imposed on them, those children will still be going into school, still be studying.

    "They will be getting remote education from January 4 but they will going in for face-to-face teaching on January 11."

  • Sarah Grealish


    Isles of Scilly punters enjoyed a pint last night in the only place in England you can drink.

    It comes as three quarters of the country was plunged into tier four from midnight and all other pubs closed.

    Some 44 million people will now be in tier four – or a whopping 78 per cent of the population of England.

    The Isles of Scilly are the only region in England now in tier one, with everywhere else in tier three or four.

    Punters were pictured at The Mermaid Inn in St Mary’s, one of a handful of boozers in England that will still be serving on New Year’s Eve.

    Revellers raised a glass at the tier one haven as they toasted their freedom ahead of tonight’s big celebrations.

    Credit: SWNS:South West News Service
  • Sarah Grealish


    PARENTS have today blasted the "confusing" rules over schools reopening with some towns "split in two".

    One parent told the MailOnline: "The school at one end of the street I live in will be closed while the school at the other end is open."

    And another fumed that their area is now "split in two" with "schools on one side of the road closed, the other side open".

    A baffled parent wrote on Twitter: "Still no idea what I am meant to be doing on Monday."

    And another confused person added: "Is it just me or was the way the rules on closures and openings of schools was presented a little bit confusing?"

  • Sarah Grealish


    TIER 4 may last until April or even longer, Boris Johnson warned last night.

    The PM refused to say when he would be able to lift the draconian restrictions placed on three quarters of the country.

    When asked by ITV's Robert Peston yesterday whether the UK could start lifting restrictions by April he said: “That will depend on how fast we can get the virus under control with tough tiering, with testing, and with rolling out the vaccination programme. I am not going to give a deadline."

    He warned that Brits may be in Tier 4 – where shops and restaurants are shut – for the long haul. But if the vaccine rollout can be sped up, then it may be lifted sooner.

    He continued: "If the tiering can work to bring the virus under control, if the vaccine rollout proceeds fast enough and we're able to inoculate to protect those most vulnerable, then there's a world in which that date could be brought forward, who knows by how many weeks.


  • Sarah Grealish


    Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow and chairmen of the Education Select Committee, has called for teachers to be made a priority for vaccinations against Covid-19.

    He told BBC Breakfast: "What I also want to see is teachers, especially now that we've got the Oxford vaccine, that teachers and support staff are made an absolute priority for vaccinations because if we can make sure that they're vaccinated and they're safe, it's less likely that schools will have to close.

    "This two weeks has to mean two weeks – schools can't just be a revolving door that never stands still, open one day, shut the next, because it's very damaging to the life chances of these pupils."

    Discussing the rollout of testing in schools, he said: "If we can roll all that out and two weeks really means two weeks, then perhaps I can understand the decision that has been made, but we can't continue to damage the life chances of children.

    "We know that remote learning, whatever the efforts of teachers and schools, is sometimes quite patchy. We know that millions of children had barely any learning in the last lockdown and there is no substitute, no substitute at all for being at school."

  • Sarah Grealish


    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said he is "confident" the country will not move into another national lockdown.

    He told Sky News: "We're taking the absolute right approach to pursue the tiering system.

    "It's really important that areas have the opportunity to move down the tiering system as well as having to sometimes move areas up the tiering system.

    "We recognise there are impositions that this has on everyone's lives but it is the right approach, it's the proper approach.

    "This is a robust approach, so I'm confident that we won't be moving into a national lockdown situation because the tiering structure is the right place to be."

  • Sarah Grealish


    GRIEVING Brits will tomorrow place pics of candles in windows on Covid Memorial Day to remember friends and family killed by coronavirus.

    January 1 is a global day of remembrance for the world’s 1.8 million Covid dead, with vigils, poems and readings to help people "get in touch with their grief", says an organiser.

    The poignant event allows people to acknowledge their loss, and remember loved ones killed by the virus one year after it emerged from Wuhan, China.

    It'll see people across five continents joining in a day of collective grief for all those lost to the deadly bug during 2020.

    Starting in New Zealand (GMT +12) and ending in Hawaii (GMT -12), people will mark Covid Memorial Day with vigils, services and individual acts of remembrance.

  • Sarah Grealish


    DRINKERS across the country hit the town last night ahead of a UK-wide pub shutdown.

    Party-goers were seen dressed to the nines hitting the town in Liverpool, Tyneside and Devon.

    Draconian restrictions and Covid cases seemed to be far from the minds of crowds as they let their hair down for one last time.

    Groups of pals were seen downing pints and dancing in the street as they enjoyed a night on the town.

    New Tier 4 restrictions mean most of the country will have to stay in for New Year's Eve.

    Credit: London News Pictures


  • Sarah Grealish


    THE new strain of deadly mutant covid "loves a crowd," England's chief medical director has warned.

    Professor Stephen Powis tonight begged Brits to stay at home and not party over New Year – as Boris Johnson and Jonathan Van-Tam gave a stark warning to the nation ahead of the final night of 2020.

    Prof Powis told the nation: "We know it's the end of the year, it's a time where people traditionally want to celebrate.

    "But it is absolutely vital that this year, everybody continues to follow the guidance by staying at home and not mixing."

    He added: "We can all play a part in fighting this terrible virus. Stay at home. Mark the New Year with just your nearest and dearest." And in a stark message, he warned: "Covid loves a crowd."

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN


    FURIOUS residents of the Scilly Isles have blasted Covidiots heading over from the mainland as it becomes the last place in Britain to buy a pint.

    Islanders have shared fears their coveted Tier 1 status will see crowds flocking to their shores for a virus-free break – and some say outsiders have already arrived.

    Three-quarters of the UK have now been plunged into Tier 4 – meaning all non-essential businesses, including pubs, will be shut.

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