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London spared from toughest regional restrictions, but Manchester and Birmingham plunged into tier-three lockdown

London spared from toughest regional restrictions, but Manchester and Birmingham plunged into tier-three lockdown
The government has announced new regional restrictions that will come into force when England's national lockdown ends next week. London will be in the second-highest tier, meaning no household mixing indoors.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed on Thursday that the national lockdown will be replaced with a return to the tiered system across England from next Wednesday.  

The restrictions announced by Hancock will see London spared from the highest tier of lockdown and instead being placed in tier two, meaning bars and restaurants can reopen but households won't be allowed to mix indoors.

Meanwhile, other urban centres such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds will experience a continuation of the national lockdown measures having been designated very-high risk regions.

Tier three, the highest level, prevents bars and restaurants from reopening and forbids people from mixing with others outside their households in all indoor and many outdoor spaces.

The southwest, an area that was largely unhit by the worst of the pandemic, now finds a number of regions plunged into the highest tier. The city of Bristol and the rural counties of North Somerset and South Gloucestershire will also be subjected to the toughest restrictions in the run up to Christmas.

A postcode checker was briefly available on Thursday morning to allow people to see what the restrictions would be in force in their area. However, the page subsequently crashed.

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The United Kingdom is one of the worst-afflicted nations in the world with Covid-19 after 18,662 new cases were reported on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Office for National Statistics suggested that Covid infections had levelled off across England following three weeks of national lockdown.

The ONS estimates there were 633,000 people infected with Covid during the week from November 15 to 21. This was down from 664,700 the week before. 

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