Coronavirus traffic light restriction system explained as ministers ‘consider new plan’
Leaked documents claim ministers grappling with rising coronavirus infection rates are weighing up a new ‘three-tier’ restrictions to tackle confusion.
Under the proposed traffic light system, all areas in England would be assigned a colour, with toughest restrictions in ‘red’ areas.
Pubs and restaurants in the worst-affected places would be forced to close again, and people would be banned from mixing with other households.
A draft document seen by The Guardian says the system would simplify the swathes of restrictions currently in place across the country.
Each area in England will be assigned a traffic light colour – red, amber and green – with rules set accordingly.
Even in green areas, where the infection rates are lowest, the rule of six and 10pm closing times would remain in place.
Earlier today data showed Manchester has the highest infection rate in England, followed by Liverpool and Knowsley in Merseyside.
The government has not revealed which areas it would class as red, amber or green.
This is how restrictions would vary:
In all areas, The Guardian reports, schools would remain open and are not specifically mentioned among lists of restrictions.
The document, named the Covid-19 Proposed Social Distancing Framework, has not been approved by the government – and it is likely that Tory MPs would demand a vote in Parliament before it becomes law.
It says: “Preventing household mixing and closing businesses and venues in which there is close social interaction was recommended as the best way to reduce R.”
And it said that ‘red’ restrictions would be “triggered in geographical areas or nationally when alert level 2 measures have not contained the spread of the virus, or where there has been a significant rise in transmission”.
Amber level would be “triggered in geographical areas or nationally when there has been a rise in transmission, which cannot be contained through local responses”.
On Friday the government’s Sage committee said England’s R number – which describes how fast the virus is spreading – is between 1.2 and 1.6.
This means the number of cases could be doubling every seven days, with London and the North East showing the fastest rise.
Liverpool saw a massive rise in cases in the seven days to Thursday – with the infection rate increasing to 456.4 per 100,000, with 2,273 new cases.
Knowsley is in third place, up from 300.3 to 452.1, with 682 new cases.
Other areas recording sharp increases include:
Public Health England last night admitted 15,841 cases were left out of daily reported figures between September 25 and October 2.
Now it has emerged the cases were not only missing from statistics – but also from vital contact-tracing efforts led by the outsourced NHS Test and Trace.
PHE insisted every person who was tested initially received their test result as normal, with all those testing positive told to self-isolate.
But Test and Trace and PHE joint medical adviser Susan Hopkins admitted: “All outstanding cases were immediately transferred to the contact tracing system by 1am on 3 October.
“And a thorough public health risk assessment was undertaken to ensure outstanding cases were prioritised for contact tracing effectively.”
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