New coronavirus tier system could allow localised response to Covid-19 outbreaks

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy

A new coronavirus tier alert system will be introduced which could allow authorities to implement different localised responses to outbreaks of the disease, ITV News understands.

The new system will be numbered from one to five, with level five being the most serious.

It is one of the measures set to be announced when Boris Johnson addresses the nation on Sunday to provide an update on the progress made to exit lockdown in England.

According to ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen, the UK is currently at level four and heading towards level three.

He tweeted: “I understand the system will be based on the reproduction rate 'R', number of infections and level of social interaction and will enable a more localised response to the virus.”

Speaking on ITV News at Ten, Carl Dinnen said: "Ultimately this will be used to find localised hotspots of the virus and allow more localised, differentiated response to tackling it."

  • ITV News Correspondent Carl Dinnen explains new coronavirus tier system

Ahead of his address on Sunday,Mr Johnson announced a new slogan of “stay alert, control the virus and save lives” as he shifts his messaging in the battle against Covid-19.

The new slogan, first reported by the Sunday Telegraph, comes as the Prime Minister prepares to drop his “stay home” messaging.

Garden centres will be allowed to reopen as part of the plans but it remains unclear if other measures will be lifted.

The PM will chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee with Cabinet ministers, leaders of the devolved nations and London Mayor Sadiq Khan before his 7pm pre-recorded address.

On Monday, the Government will publish a 50-page document outlining the full plan to cautiously re-start the economy to MPs after figures suggested the overall death toll for the UK has passed 36,500.

The shift in messaging will come amid concerns that workers may not feel comfortable resuming their roles after the weeks of firm instructions to “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives”.

That could be a test for ministers, with unions warning that they might not recommend their millions-strong membership to resume their roles if safety is not assured.

“The trade union movement wants to be able to recommend the Government’s back-to-work plans,” Unison, Unite, the GMB, Usdaw and the Trades Union Congress wrote in a letter to the Observer.

“But for us to do that we need to ensure that ministers have listened and that we stay safe and save lives at work too.”

Scotland and Wales have both announced extensions to their lockdowns with minor changes.

On Saturday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps encouraged Britons to consider cycling as an option into work once the lockdown lifts.

A new coronavirus tier alert system will be introduced which could allow authorities to implement different localised responses to the disease. Credit: PA

The Government has pledged £2bn to boost cycling and pedestrian infrastructure around the country.

Also among the mooted changes is that those visiting the country will have to fill in a digital form and declare an address where they will then be expected to self-isolate for 14 days.

Travellers could face fines of up to £1,000 and even deportation if spot checks later find they have flouted the rules, which the report claimed could be introduce in June.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think ministers have said the issue of looking to ensure, as we really drive down transmission in the UK, that we are able to ensure the virus is not being brought into the country from overseas is one they are actively considering.”

The strict clampdown is set to be part of a “road map” revealed by the Prime Minister during his address to the nation on Sunday evening in which he will set out the stages for lifting the lockdown.

Mr Johnson will also recommend workers wear masks when they do return to work and when using public transport, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said he expects Wales’s “very modest” lockdown easing to be in line with what Boris Johnson will announce for England.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We were clearly convinced that only the very smallest and most modest steps … were allowable at this time.

“You’ve heard what the Prime Minister’s spokesman has been saying over the last couple of days, that the Prime Minister also thinks maximum caution is the way to approach the immediate future.

“We’ll hear from the Prime Minister on Sunday the details of what he proposes for England, my view is we’ll be very much in line with one another.

“Our new regime won’t come in until Monday, so we’ll move in a timely way together across the UK and I still think that is very much a preferable route.”

But in Scotland, only alterations to exercise guidance are expected, while those in Northern Ireland have been told there will be just “nuanced changes” to the clampdown on movement.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government’s “strong preference” is that leaders of the devolved nations agree to maintain a UK-wide approach to the virus.

“Our strong preference is the whole United Kingdom moves as one,” he told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday.

“We hope that they will agree to a consistent approach across the country, that’s our strong preference.”

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster has said any changes made to the region’s lockdown measures following Boris Johnson’s announcement will be nuanced.

Mrs Foster said the reproductive rate of the virus is around 0.8-0.9 in Northern Ireland which led to the lockdown regulations being extended for a further three weeks.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, she said: “We will be looking at some nuanced changes throughout that time and we will be looking to see what the Prime Minister has to say later today. But in terms of the Northern Ireland public, I think it is important to continue to protect them and make sure the virus does not start spreading again in the community, that would cause damage in the community.”

She said a roadmap for the region to exit lockdown will be published this week to deal with the economic recovery and society’s recovery.

“It will look at how we move to the new normal in a graduated way,” she said.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know