SAGE expert says England will 'probably' be in full lockdown by end of January

England will ‘probably’ be in a third national lockdown by the end of January, a SAGE expert has predicted.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of SAGE subgroup the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), sounded the grim warning today as 78% of England woke up in Tier 4.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Cases are rising in a really concerning way.

“So I suspect that unfortunately we will see a ramping-up even further of restrictions, probably more of the country being in Tier 4 or ultimately probably a national lockdown before we get to the end of January.”

Tier 4 has the same rules as the November national lockdown, and critics say the nation is already almost in a lockdown in all but name.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M)

The only place in England where pubs are allowed to open tonight is the Isles of Scilly – home to just over 2,000 people.

Meanwhile primary schools have been shut on a large scale for the first time since the original lockdown in March.

They will open only to key workers’ children and the most vulnerable next week in 50 council areas – affecting around a million children.

Last night Boris Johnson refused to rule out a third national lockdown on top of the drastic measures already in place.

The Prime Minister said a full national lockdown “was an option we considered intensively” but he decided to keep going with tiers for now.

Map showing Tier 4 areas in England
Tier 4 now covers most of England

However, he could not rule out a national lockdown in future – saying the impact of Tier 4 on virus rates is still “a bit of an open question”.

Covid claimed its highest daily death toll since April yesterday – just as a new vaccine was approved.

On a day of despair and hope, 981 victims died and 20 million more people went into Tier 4. But there was joy as the Oxford jab got the go-ahead to be rolled out from Monday.

Boris Johnson warned: “With the prospect of freedom within reach, we’ve got to redouble our efforts to contain the virus.”

Both Tier 3 and 4 ban gatherings with anyone not in your household or bubble, either indoors or in gardens.

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The new tier 4 rules prohibit multi-household gathering, except two people in a park

The few million people in Tier 3 can meet in groups of up to six in an open space like a park – but even that isn’t allowed in Tier 4.

For the 44.1million in Tier 4, the only allowable gatherings are of two people, one from each household, in an open space.

Tier 3 and Tier 4 rules order pubs, restaurants and cafes to shut and say people should not travel outside their area.

Additionally, in Tier 4 people are legally ordered to “stay at home” except for limited exemptions, while hairdressers, gyms, indoor pools, and non-essential shops must close.


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