Matt Hancock, in an earlier press conference, announced that Oxfordshire, most of Hampshire, West Sussex, the whole of East Sussex, as well as Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire – most parts of which are currently in tier 2 – would be placed under the toughest curbs on Saturday to Tier 4. Those parts of Essex not already in tier 4 and Waverley in Surrey will also join them. Tier 4 people are not allowed to travel, so this will have an impact on Cornish tourism which can expect an influx of cancellations.
Meanwhile, areas including Bristol, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Swindon and the Isle of Wight will be escalated to tier 3.
Cornwall and Herefordshire will be placed under tier 2 after Christmas; the Isles of Scilly will be left as the single place left in as tier 1.
The estimated “R” number – the average number of people to whom one infected person will go on to spread the virus – has risen from between 1.1 and 1.3, up from 1.1 and 1.2 last week. Hence, the latest restrictions. A new strain of the virus appears to have arrived from South Africa.