'Tier three in Liverpool within days' as officials warn covid rising across the country

10 October 2020, 08:47 | Updated: 10 October 2020, 08:51

Liverpool is said to be one of the cities facing the 'tier three' restrictions
Liverpool is said to be one of the cities facing the 'tier three' restrictions. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Senior public health officials today warned that coronavirus is rising across the country with cities in the north braced for tougher 'tier three' restrictions due to be announced in days.

Susan Hopkins, deputy director of Public Health England's national infection service, said today: "The picture shows that all over the country the numbers of cases are rising.

"They are rising more quickly in the North West, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber than they are in the south of the country.

Read more: Boris Johnson set to announce new three tier system on Monday

"Concerning aspects in terms of the North West is that in certain pockets of the North West it is rising quite fast now in the over-60s. And that's the group of people that we know would need admission to hospital more significantly than the younger population."

The mayor of Liverpool has said he expects the city to be put in a tier three lockdown within days.

"We will be in the local lockdown, new local lockdown, which is announced, which will probably be, well, will be tier three, and that that will be enacted in Parliament on Tuesday.

"We are continuing the discussions and conversations today.

"But the main point of the imposition of the measures are clearly that: imposition. We have not be consulted."

The British Medical Association (BMA) warned today that the government could lose the public's trust because of its "inconsistent" messaging on the virus.

The BMA said clearer, stronger measures are needed to halt the spread of the Covid-19.

As the Government prepares to unveil a new three-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions on Monday, the doctors' trade union body has published a list of recommendations it says could reduce the nation's level of infection while providing people with the confidence they need to go out safely and boost the economy.

The BMA's recommendations include:

- Modifying the current Rule of Six with the rule that only two households can meet, and those should not exceed 6 people, ideally outdoors rather than indoors;

- Making the wearing of face masks mandatory in all offices and working environments, unless you are working alone;

- Making people wear masks in all outdoor settings where two-metre distancing is not possible;

- Providing financial support to businesses, retail and hospitality settings to enable them to make premises Covid secure and provide clear rules on what 'Covid secure' means;

- Providing medical grade masks, free of charge, to those who are over 60 or in a vulnerable group, as recommended by the World Health Organisation;

- Providing masks free of charge to those who are exempt from prescription charges and also at the entrance of all public settings if a person has not brought one;

- Adding more functionality to the NHS Test and Trace app to give people more detailed information on infection rates in their area including actual figures of rates of infection and trends.

The BMA's council chairman, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said the inconsistency of the Government's messaging once the first lockdown was lifted had played a part in the resurgence of the virus.

He said: "The infection has risen following rapid relaxation of measures and with the Westminster Government letting down its guard - as recently as August, the Government was encouraging people to travel, go to work and mix in restaurants and pubs."

"The Government has a duty to regain the public's confidence and faith in measures being taken to get the spread of the virus back under control. It must also provide the financial support businesses need to enable them to make premises and settings Covid secure while providing clear rules on what 'Covid secure' means."

Dr Nagpaul added there was "inconsistency" in directions relating to the wearing of facemasks and how and when to mix socially.

He said: "With admissions to hospitals for Covid climbing rapidly in parts of England, there is an opportunity for the Westminster Government to bring in simple stronger restrictions alongside the introduction of its ... three-tiered approach.

"We have drawn on a range of expertise from within the BMA to publish a set of recommendations which we feel, if introduced very quickly, could have a positive effect."

Dr Nagpaul added: "We know that with the right public behaviour and renewed public confidence, the infection can be brought under control, given that we had less than 500 new cases a day in mid-July.

"We are having to swallow a very bitter pill of the infection continuing to spread at a perilous rate.

"Stronger measures brought in now could be a far sweeter pill in the long run for far more people."