Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has just announced that Bedford, along with the whole of Bedfordshire, is to be placed into a new Tier 4 coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.
London and the South East will also be placed into the new tier.
Tier Four restrictions will come into effect from 12.01 am tomorrow, 20 December.
Additional restrictions are:
- Non-essential retail, gyms, leisure and personal care must close
- People must work from home unless they are unable to
- Do not enter or leave Tier 4 areas or stay overnight away from home
- You can only meet one person from another household
- Communal worship can still continue
The Prime Minister said support and childcare bubbles would be exempt “for those at particular risk of loneliness or isolation.”
The restrictions will be reviewed on 30 December. However, there will be no relaxation of the rules in a similar way to Christmas for 31 December, new year’s eve.
“Prime Ministers’ desperation to be popular has led the public down the garden path”
Christmas restrictions have also been tightened with a ban on households mixing in Tier 4.
In other tiers, three households will still be able to meet indoors but only on Christmas Day.
Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin (Labour) has said the news we are going into Tier 4 is “a huge blow to all of us”.
Commenting via his Facebook page he said that the fact Christmas plans now won’t be possible with “all the disappointment and anxiety that this news brings is heart-breaking”.
He also attacked the Prime Minister for seemingly making a u-turn over the Christmas plans.
“The Prime Minister’s desperation to be popular has led the public down the garden path, promising them a normal Christmas when the reality is, infection rates have been on the rise for weeks in our area, the pandemic is still very dangerous and the strain on the NHS is concerning.
“The 5-day relaxation plans were a dangerous fantasy. The public and businesses just want the truth not endlessly confusing messages that its safe one day and not the next.”
Richard Fuller, Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire simply confirmed the news and posted details of what the restrictions will mean.
New variant spreading quickly
Prof Chris Whitty also spoke of the new variant of the virus saying there had been a “dramatic increase” in the proportion of cases in certain areas.
He added places with the variant have had higher increases in hospitalizations. The East of England saw a 36% increase.
The NHS say that between 5 November to 18 December 2020, there have been 21 deaths of patients with COVID-19 in the East of England.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.