Eddie Mair 4pm - 6pm
Millions more plunged into Tier 4 as hospitals see surge of Covid-19 patients
30 December 2020, 15:05 | Updated: 31 December 2020, 00:25
Millions more people in England have been plunged into Tier 4 today, as other areas which have enjoyed lower restrictions have been placed under Tier 3.
The latest announcement means an additional 20 million people are in almost total lockdown from one minute past midnight on Thursday, taking the total number to 44 million - 78% of England's population.
It comes as hospitals across the country report seeing increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients, with Essex and Buckinghamshire declaring "major incidents" over the decreasing number of beds available.
Announcing the latest measures, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the "sharply rising cases and the hospitalisations" that the country is seeing "demonstrate the need to act where the virus is spreading."
Mr Hancock told MPs that the majority of new cases recorded yesterday "are believed to be the new variant".
"Unfortunately, this new variant is now spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast," he added.
"It is therefore necessary to apply Tier 4 measures to a wider area, including the remaining parts of the South East, as well as large parts of the Midlands, the North West, the North East and the South West."
Among the areas that have been put into Tier 4 is the Isle of Wight, which a month ago enjoyed Tier 1 - the lowest level of restrictions.
The news came on the same day it was announced the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was given formal approval to begin being used in the UK.
Mr Hancock said the approval of the vaccine was a "world-first" and a "huge British success story".
He said: "The vaccine is the route out of this crisis and the approval this morning of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is another world-first for Britain and it's the single biggest stride that we've been able to take since this pandemic began."
He added: "Partnered with AstraZeneca we've done a brilliant job to develop and manufacture a safe and effective vaccine at speed. I'm sure the whole House will join me in congratulating everyone involved in this huge British success story."
Mr Hancock said: "We need to vaccinate as quickly as supply allows, following the necessary safety checks of course, and the NHS stand ready to accelerate deployment at scale from Monday, January 4."
The full list of those that have moved into Tier 4 is as follows:
Leicestershire (Oadby and Wigston, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Blaby, Charnwood, North West Leicestershire, Melton)
Lincolnshire (City of Lincoln, Boston, South Kesteven, West Lindsey, North Kesteven, South Holland, East Lindsey)
Northamptonshire (Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire, Wellingborough)
Derby and Derbyshire (Derby, Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Erewash, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak)
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (Gedling, Ashfield, Mansfield, Rushcliffe, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, Broxtowe)
Birmingham and Black Country (Dudley, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton)
Warwickshire (Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwick, North Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon)
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (East Staffordshire, Stafford, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent)
Lancashire (Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Blackpool, Preston, Hyndburn, Chorley, Fylde, Lancaster, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
Cheshire and Warrington (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington)
Cumbria (Eden, Carlisle, South Lakeland, Barrow-in-Furness, Copeland, Allerdale)
Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees )
North East (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland)
Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham)
Somerset Council (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset)
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
Isle of Wight
The following areas have been put into Tier 3 restrictions:
Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
Worcestershire (Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon, Wyre Forest)
Liverpool City Region
(Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens)
York & North Yorkshire (Scarborough, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Selby, Craven, Ryedale, Harrogate, City of York)
Bath and North East Somerset
Devon, Plymouth, Torbay (East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, West Devon, Plymouth, Torbay)