Britain 'back to where we were in March' with Covid – and 'it may get sh***** yet', warns senior Tory ahead of new rules

BRITAIN is back to where we were in March at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak and things may still get “sh**** yet”, a senior Tory has warned.

Boris Johnson will today unveil his detailed “three-tier” plan and is likely to place some areas under stricter lockdown measures as the UK enters the next phase of the pandemic.

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One senior Conservative has said the British people need to “brace, brace” as the new rules will be “hard to stomach”.

The politician described the next phase as going to be “sh”, but warned that it “may get sh** yet”.

They told Politico: “This is the moment where we enter the next phase.

“It’s going to be really hard to stomach, it’s going to go on for some time, and if people don’t follow the rules then we may have to go further still.

“People in all areas of the country should be under no illusion, we are back to where we were in March, this is going to be sh** and it may get sh**** yet.”

The Prime Minister is set to announce that overnight stays will be forbidden in northern virus hotspots for four weeks.

As well as the bed ban, residents will only be able to leave the highest risk regions for essential travel such as work, education or health reasons, and must return that day.

And anyone visiting the danger zones will be banned from staying overnight.

What is coming today:

  • Boris Johnson will outline his 'three-tier' plan later today
  • Parts of London 'face ban on households mixing'
  • Merseyside to be first in 'Tier 3' lockdown
  • Pubs and bars will also close in those areas

Last night Mr Johnson told the Cabinet the nation stands at a “critical juncture” and more must be done to avoid triggering full lockdowns.

Tier Three households will not be allowed to mix either indoors or outdoors.

Pubs and bars will also close in those areas, but it is understood restaurants will continue serving food until 10pm following a major backlash from regional leaders.

The restrictions are likely to hit Liverpool, Manchester and parts of Yorkshire from as early as today. They will be reviewed monthly.

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool city region, said discussions on new measures expected to be announced today had been going on "all night".

He told BBC Breakfast he is wants to explain to the two million residents in the city that he has "negotiated on their behalf.

Mr Rotheram said: "But also we wanted some surety from national government that if we hit some of the milestones we can come out of Tier 3 very quickly."

He said test and trace with "much more local control", issues around enforcement and "one or two other packages of support" around capacity for local authorities are already "in the bag" but that other details are being worked out.

Mr Rotheram said there is a "sunset clause" after four weeks of restrictions, measuring progress, but the meaning of that is not yet known.

He said: "We want to know what are those measures, how can we ensure that we measure progress against them and how quickly can we come out the other side?"

He added: "I think that they (the Government) haven't yet bottomed out all of the detail."

Calum Semple, professor of outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Breakfast: "The science is clear that social distancing is the most effective way of stopping this virus so that's the sort of headline.

"And then, where are the outbreaks happening?

"Well, most of the outbreaks are happening between within and between households and then after that, it's in the retail and hospitality sector.

"So, the major issue here is to focus on the cities and areas with the largest outbreaks and sadly my home city of Liverpool is being hammered at the moment. These restrictions are necessary."

Asked about the specific science underpinning restrictions on hospitality, Prof Semple said: "Alcohol and people's behaviour are well known to be factors that result in relaxation of one's adherence to regulations, let's put it politely.

"And so I can understand why this move is happening."

So, the major issue here is to focus on the cities and areas with the largest outbreaks and sadly my home city of Liverpool is being hammered at the moment. These restrictions are necessary."

Professor Semple said Liverpool "really needs assistance with controlling this virus".

He told BBC Breakfast: "The last I heard we had over 600 cases per 100,000 (people), bed occupancy in the main hospital was over half of our beds are filled with people with Covid, and we're not even into winter yet.

"Already staff are feeling overburdened, emotionally wiped out (and have) a lot of psychological stress because they're having this horrible groundhog experience.

"And they're looking outside and thinking we're not even into winter yet."

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden today said that tough new coronavirus restrictions may be needed until after Christmas.

Mr Dowden told Sky News: "If those measures are successful we hope to be able to take areas out of those high levels of restrictions.

"The purpose of doing this is to ensure we get the virus under control so by the time that we get through to after Christmas we are in that position where it is under control.

"Indeed I hope it will be sooner than that."

He also made it clear the Government will resist any legal challenge to close down pubs and restaurants under new coronavirus controls.

Mr Dowden added: "I think they will find that if they challenge the Government we do have robust evidence for doing this.

"The evidence shows that there is a higher risk of transmissions in hospitality settings. There is academic evidence from the United States."

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