12 Oct Coronavirus: Professor Chris Whitty admits Tier 3 rules ‘not sufficient’ on their own to limit COVID-19 | Politics News
The highest level of restrictions in England’s new three-tier local lockdown system “will not be sufficient” to slow COVID-19 infections alone, England’s chief medical officer has admitted.
From Wednesday, England will be split into “medium”, “high” and “very high” coronavirus alert levels.
Speaking at the news briefing shortly after Boris Johnson confirmed the new system of localised COVID-19 restrictions, Professor Chris Whitty said he was “very confident that the measures that are currently in place are helping to slow the virus, and these measures will help to slow it further”.
However, he cast doubt on whether the basic package of measures for the highest alert areas would be enough to limit the spread of coronavirus.
“I am not confident – and nor is anybody confident – that the Tier 3 proposals for the highest rates, if we did the absolute base case and nothing more, would be enough to get on top of it,” he added.
“And that is why there’s a lot of flexibility in the Tier 3 level for local authorities, guided by the directors of public health who are absolutely superb around the country, to actually go up that range.
“So that they can do significantly more than the absolute base.
“Because the base will not be sufficient, I think that’s very clearly the professional view.
“But there are quite a lot more additional things that can be done within that, with local guidance.”
Prof Whitty urged the public to “buy into” the new system of restrictions.
“The central thing about this is, these only work if people buy into them,” he said.
“I don’t just mean political leaders… but also everybody has got to buy into them.”
The prime minister also issued a plea for the public to stick to the coronavirus rules, in the hope of achieving a relatively normal Christmas period.
“We’ll do our absolute best to try to make sure we can get life back to as close to normal as possible for Christmas,” he said.
“But that is going to depend, I’m afraid, on our success in getting this virus down and our ability as a country to follow through on the package of measures.”
The very high alert level will see people banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, while bars and pubs will be closed unless they can operate as restaurants.
Mr Johnson outlined this was a “baseline” package of measures for the worst-affected areas and local leaders could decide to add extra restrictions.
The Liverpool City Region, which is the first part of England to be put into the very high tier, has also decided to close gyms, leisure centres, bookies and casinos.