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Boris Johnson to ‘kill off normal Christmas hopes’ with new tougher tier system

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to dash Brits' hopes of a "normal" Christmas this year with the announcement of a tougher tier system from December 2.

England will enter a strengthened three-tiered system of local restrictions when the second national lockdown ends on December 2, Downing Street has said.

Boris Johnson is expected to detail his plan for winter, which includes details on how families can see their loved ones at Christmas, to MPs on Monday.

The "Covid winter plan" is expected to place more areas into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control to ensure further restrictions are not needed, No 10 said.

And while some local measures will be the same as those in the previous system, some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the national lockdown.

The Cabinet is expected to discuss and sign off the plan on Sunday before Mr Johnson announces it to Parliament the following day.

This plan will set out how people will be able to spend their Christmas, but ministers have made clear that the festive season will be different to normal, with some restrictions expected to remain in place.

Ministers will set out what tier each area will be placed into on Thursday and MPs are expected to be given the vote to approve the new tiering system, as promised by Mr Johnson, in the days before it comes into force on December 2.

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They are optimistic that restrictions can be gradually reduced in the run-up to spring, providing vaccines are approved by regulators, allowing a plan for the rollout to begin next month before a wider programme in the new year.

The plans emerged as the Government announced a further 341 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 54,626.

Labour has so far been supportive of the need for restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, and a full-scale Commons defeat on the plan is unlikely.

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But shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, in a speech ahead of the Downing Street announcement, said the nation could not be allowed to return "to the shambles we had before this lockdown" in calling for "clarity" on economic support.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: "Everyone's efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased pressures on the NHS.

"But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisers are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions, it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

"That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS."

A Labour spokesman said "we will look closely at any proposals the Government brings forward" but called for "proper packages of support" for businesses that are unable to fully reopen.

"The previous system was failing – simply returning to it without other measures in place will not work," he added.

  • Christmas
  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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