Tiers changed across the South West - the latest as Somerset, Gloucestershire and Swindon put in Tier 4

Health Secretary Matt Hancock Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

Much of the South West will face tougher coronavirus restrictions from New Year's Eve - with some areas moving to Tier 4.

Gloucestershire, Swindon and Somerset will move in to Tier 4 from 12.01am on Thursday 31 December, meaning people must stay at home and more businesses will close.

At the same time, Cornwall and Devon will also be moved up to Tier 3.

While making the announcement, Matt Hancock said: “Suppressing the virus has got a whole lot hard because of the new variant and we must take more action today.”

He said the NHS is under “significant pressure”, adding: “Sharply rising cases and the hospitalisations that follow demonstrate the need to act where the virus is spreading.

“Unfortunately this new variant is now spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast. It is therefore necessary to apply Tier 4 measures to a wider area.” 

The changes mean three quarters of the population will be living under Tier 4 restrictions.

South West Tiers at a glance:

Tier 1 - Medium alert

Up to six people can meet indoors or outdoors. Pubs and restaurants can open, with last orders at 10pm and closing at 11pm.

Places in the South West under Tier 1:

  • The Isles of Scilly

Tier 2 - High Alert

No mixing indoors, apart from support bubbles. Up to six people can meet outdoors. Pubs and restaurants can open, with last orders at 10pm and closing at 11pm - but alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal.

  • No parts of the South West are in Tier 2.

Tier 3 - Very High Alert

No mixing indoors. People can only meet outdoors in limited places such as parks and public gardens. Pubs and restaurants must close, with the exception of takeaway sales.

Places in the South West under Tier 3 include:

  • Bath and North East Somerset

  • Bristol

  • Cornwall

  • Devon

  • Dorset

  • North Somerset

  • Plymouth

  • South Gloucestershire

  • Torbay

  • Wiltshire

Tier 4 - Stay At Home

If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. A reasonable excuse includes going to work, for childcare and education, and to buy food and medical supplies.

Businesses such as hairdressers and gyms must close.

  • Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham)

  • Swindon (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset)

  • Somerset

How cases look in the South West

Of all the regions in the UK, the South West has the fewest number of cases per 100,000 population.

In the seven days up to December 24, there were 175.1 cases per 100,000 people in the South West.

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have the fewest number of cases in the region - at 99.9 cases per 100,000 - while Somerset (227.5 per 100,000) and Swindon (251.6) the worst affected.

The mutant strain of Covid-19 has doubled in the South West in the past month - but is not yet the dominant strain.

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