Health Minister says Tier 3 areas are seeing sharp increases in certain cases, an indication that they could move up to Tier 4

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Health minister hasn’t ruled out the prospect of another national lockdown – saying whether work with Tier 4 restrictions is “due to people’s behavior”

When asked if the government could take further action to contain the spread of COVID-19, Matt Hancock told Sky News: “We’re not ruling anything out”

He said that Coronavirus cases have risen sharply in Level 3 areas, an indication that the parts of the country that are not yet in Level 4 will be brought to the highest levels of restrictions in the near future could be

“This new variant is much easier to catch, much more transferable and we are now unfortunately seeing the effects in many different parts of the country,” said the Health Minister

“And that means that although the old Tier 3 could contain the old variant, this is becoming increasingly difficult in all parts of the country”

When asked if Tier 4 restrictions help keep the virus under control, Hancock said, “Honestly, it comes down to people’s behavior. What matters, of course, are the rules we put in place, but it works also about how people act

“And to be honest, I would say this: It is important that everyone in the country do everything possible to reduce the spread of the virus”

With the advent of new variants of COVID-19 – first identified in the UK and South Africa – and daily cases that regularly hit 50000, Boris Johnson is increasingly called upon to take further action

The Prime Minister has made it clear that he is considering this and said in a BBC interview on Sunday: “We may have to do things over the next few weeks that could be more difficult with that and I’m full completely reconciled I think the whole country is completely reconciled “

On the same day, union leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government had to impose a national lockdown within 24 hours because the virus was “clearly out of control”

Sir David King, a former chief science adviser to the government, told Sky News ministers shouldn’t wait to put in place a national lockdown

“We don’t have to wait to see how the new variant of the disease spreads in other parts of the country, we need to see a national lockdown now”

Sir David also said that ministers should “examine very carefully” the return of students to schools

“The effects on teachers and other workers in schools and on parents [of the virus) are poor. It causes an impact on the rate of spread of the disease”

Also speaking to Sky News, Labor shadow education secretary Kate Green said the government should look into closing unnecessary retail stores in Tier 3 areas before going to schools

“We know that in some parts of the country in Tier 3 areas there are still non-essential companies that are open,” she said

“So I think that closing schools when some parts of the economy that may not perform essential functions are still open is not right for me”

Sky political correspondent Tom Rayner said the health minister put a bit more meat on the bones than the prime minister said

“What Matt Hancock said is that he pointed directly to Tier 3 areas with steep climbs, which would mean that the first approach the government is considering is to see if more areas are moving to Tier 4 must be or not “Said Rayner

“He, I thought, interestingly, when he pushed to see if we were in a situation where Tier 4 is not enough, he said it was about human behavior. He said it was important for everyone who did Rules and described it as a “massive national effort”

“I assume that the government hopes that a combination of moving more areas to Tier 4 and increasing compliance through more enforcement or other messaging will achieve the current approach”

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World News – GB – COVID-19: Matt Hancock doesn’t rule out another national lockdown