As England faces tough new coronavirus restrictions from next week, scientists have warned that it could take days to turn the tide.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s remarks and apology for the heartache the restrictions would cause to more than 55 million people placed in the highest two tiers infuriated a number of MPs. Despite all efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the number of infections across the country has been constantly increasing.
The prime minister who has been under pressure for his handling of the crisis warned that this was not the time for “taking our foot off the throat of the beast”.
“Now testing on this scale is untried, but in due course, if it works, where people test negative it may also be possible for families and communities to be released from certain restrictions even if their home area stays in tier 3. Your tier is not your destiny, every area has the means of escape,” Johnson said.
Many in northern England, and the Midlands, as well as Kent, Bristol and Slough will come under the top coronavirus restrictions tier while Liverpool and London will be in tier 2. Greater Manchester which has been facing restrictions of one kind or another since late July will remain in tier 3.
The tough rules have prompted concern from the local leaders and business groups who warned the new restrictions would be a serious setback to economic recovery.
Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Ongoing restrictions in England will continue to have a devastating impact on businesses across the country. To weather a difficult winter ahead, greater support will be needed for the hardest-hit firms, including those in town and city centres that will miss out on trade as employees continue to work from home.”
A number of Conservative MPs are planning to vote against the restrictions when they come to parliament next week.
Steve Baker, of the Tories’ Covid Recovery Group, which questions the logic for many of the restrictions, said: “The authoritarianism at work today is truly appalling.”