Boris Johnson could announce new tier four areas as early as today (Picture: PA)
A Gold Command meeting of public health chiefs and ministers was reportedly held on Tuesday evening to discuss how to contain a new fast-spreading variant of coronavirus. London and parts of the South East have already been placed in tier four due to the variant.
The Prime Minister is now reported to be preparing another press briefing today, as Whitehall sources said there was a ‘high’ chance of a New Year Lockdown.
They told the Telegraph: ‘The expectation now is that we get through Christmas, but after that the chances of a full lockdown in the new year look pretty high.’
The current tier system is due to be reviewed on December 30. However, London and the South East were previously placed in tier three ahead of the previous December 16 review, due to a spike in Covid cases.
Officials have also discussed plans to put Birmingham into tier four before Christmas, The Mirror reports. This would mean households in the region are no longer able to mix on December 25.
The new Covid variant has spread across the UK (Picture: Metro.co.uk)
Officials have reportedly discussed plans to put Birmingham into tier four before Christmas (Picture: PA)
West Sussex is also among the areas being considered for tier four, while parts of East Sussex could be added, The Times reports.
It comes as genomic researchers found the new variant of Covid, which is said to be 70% more infectious than previous strains, had already spread around the UK, with cases identified in Wales and Scotland.
Health chiefs in Cumbria have said the new variant is in the county and could be behind sharp increases in new cases, while Lancashire’s director of public health said there was a ‘high likelihood’ it was in the region.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has since written to Johnson to say his party would back any government moves to tighten restrictions if that is what scientists recommended.
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