PM to announce three-tier lockdown system after COBRA meeting

The prime minister will announce a new three-tier lockdown system for England tomorrow, with “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels.

However, discussions with local leaders are ongoing to decide which parts of the country will face which restrictions.

Boris Johnson will chair an emergency COBRA meeting on Monday morning, before updating parliament on the new rules.

He will also hold a televised news conference with the chancellor and chief medical officer.

MPs will debate and vote on the national framework later this week, but the government is not committing to a vote on local lockdown decisions.

It is understood negotiations are most advanced with Liverpool City leaders, who were told they could face tier three restrictions.

Under the “very high” alert level pubs, bars, gyms and casinos are expected to close, but restaurants and pubs offering “substantive meals” would stay open.

A senior government source said there will be a “degree of discretion” for local leaders within the tiers.

After speaking to the prime minister, Steve Rotherham, the mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said new restrictions “must come with the financial support to protect jobs and businesses”.

Leaders in the region say they are expecting a financial contribution for track and trace and enforcement, but funding for local government is still being discussed.

It comes as five Manchester MPs warned the government against shutting pubs and restaurants under new coronavirus restrictions.

They said a shutdown of hospitality venues would have a “devastating impact on jobs, livelihoods and businesses” and lead to illegal gatherings.

David Greenhalgh, the Conservative leader of Bolton Council, also told the BBC the latest financial package is “frankly unacceptable”.

A Downing Street spokesperson said this is a “critical juncture” and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s expanded Jobs Support Scheme will “protect jobs and enable businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted”.

New measures announced by Mr Sunak last week will see staff paid two-thirds of their wages if their employer is forced to shut because of stricter lockdown measures.

Latest coronavirus figures reported on Sunday recorded 12,872 more cases and 65 deaths.

It is a slight fall from Saturday, when there were 15,166 cases and 81 deaths.

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