An unprecedented internal rebellion over Covid measures has prompted the government to loosen some restrictions.
The government plans to roll out instant coronavirus testing in areas which are most affected by the virus and ending the 14 days isolation for close contacts of those who test positive. Contacts of those who are diagnosed with Covid-19 will have the opportunity to get tested every day for a week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the people`s compliance with the rules is making a difference but “we are not out of the woods yet”.
“The virus is still present in communities across the country and remains both far more infectious and far more deadly than seasonal flu. But with expansion in testing and vaccines edging closer to deployment, the regional tiered system will help get the virus back under control and keep it there,” Mr Johnson said.
Today the prime minister will announce plans for a stricter three-tiered set of restrictions to be imposed once current restrictions lift on 2 December. However, the government is expected to temporarily relax restrictions on household mixing across England over Christmas.
The programme of mass, instant coronavirus testing will be trialled in Liverpool and if it appears to be drumming well, it will be extended across the NHS and care homes in December before being rolled out to everyone from January.
However, Tory MPs have raised concern over the cost of implementing the tougher restrictions after current restrictions lift.
In a letter to the prime minister, 70 Tory MPs from the newly formed Covid Recovery Group said: “We cannot support this approach further unless the government demonstrates the restrictions proposed for after 2 December will have an impact on slowing the transmission of Covid, and will save more lives than they cost.
“To this end, [the] government must publish a full cost-benefit analysis of the proposed restrictions on a regional basis so that MPs can assess responsibly the non-Covid health impact of restrictions, as well as the undoubted impact on livelihoods.”