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Matt Hancock announces more areas of England going into Tier 4 from Boxing Day

Health Secretary Matt Hancock plunged a number of new areas into the strictest Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions.

With the rate of new cases of Covid-19 rising in nine out of 10 local authorities across England, it was expected that much of the country would move up the tier system.

Mr Hancock said the rate of infection has increased 575 over the last week with 1,109 hospital admissions a day.

He said with rising cases, hospital admissions and deaths it is 'vital' the government acts and acts quickly.

"Tier 3 is not enough to control the new variant," he said. "It is therefore necessary to put more of the east and south east of England into Tier 4."

From Boxing Day; Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, those parts of Essex not yet in Tier 4, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire including Portsmouth and Southampton, but with the exception of the New Forest, will all move to Tier 4

Matt Hancock also outlined areas of England moving up to higher tiers.

He added: “Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire as well as Cheshire and Warrington will all be escalated to Tier 3.

“And I’m afraid that Cornwall and Herefordshire have seen sharply rising rates and need to be escalated to Tier 2.”

Mr Hancock said the new Covid variant is spreading at a 'dangerous rate'.

"We all know 2020 has been a hard year and it's ending with this festive period that's going to be very different," Mr Hancock said.

Mr Hancock also announced another separate new Covid variant that has been imported to the UK from South Africa and is even more transmissible than the second variant.

He demanded anyone who has recently been to South Africa or has come into close contact with someone who to quarantine immediately.

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