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Boris Johnson has suggested that England will not return to a localised tier system as Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions slow, saying the infectiousness of the new variant had made the system less workable.
Speaking during a visit to a vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorkshire, the prime minister said most regions were responding in a similar way. “It may be that a national approach, going down the tiers in a national way, might be better this time round, given that the disease is behaving much more nationally,” he said.
Johnson said he had not ruled out returning to a regional approach if there were obvious advantages but said the picture was pretty uniform.
“If you look at the way the new variant has taken off across the country, it’s a pretty national phenomenon,” he said.
“The charts I see, we’re all sort of moving pretty much in the same sort of way. I mean there are a few discrepancies, a few differences, so it may be that we will go for a national approach but there may be an advantage still in some regional differentiation as well. I’m keeping an open mind on that.”
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has previously said ministers would review the tier system in the coming weeks, telling a press conference last week it was being examined “right now”.
Johnson has pledged to set out a roadmap for the easing of restrictions in the week beginning 22 February, looking at the metrics for unlocking different parts of the economy, such as vaccination numbers and hospital admission rates.
However, the communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, has said it is very likely the government would “try to make use of the tiered system” in easing lockdown. “It’s sensible that we target restrictions on those places where the virus is most prevalent,” he said last week.
Johnson has said he hoped schools in England would start to reopen on 8 March at the earliest, but if a national strategy for unlocking restrictions was pursued it was likely to mean a slower easing of other measures, especially if the reopening of schools caused an increase in virus transmission in early spring.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Boris Johnson suggests England will not return to regional Covid tiers | World news