HALF of Brits are now living in stricter tier two or three restrictions – as an MP claims the country is facing "lockdown by stealth".
Millions of people living as far south as London and as far north as Northumberland have been hit by the new laws under Boris Johnson's three-tier lockdown plan, which he unveiled this week.
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But just days after the scheme was revealed, around one in two people in England are now living with stricter new measures.
These range from being unable to meet loved ones from different households indoors, to the closure of pubs and bars.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added a number of new locations – including the capital – to the second tier today.
Essex, Elmbridge in Surrey, York, Chesterfield, Barrow-in-Furness, north-east Derbyshire and Erewash in east Derbyshire will also move into the second tier.
In total, another 26.7 million people will now be covered by the tier two restrictions.
Areas in tier two are:
- Greater London (from midnight on Friday)
- Essex (from midnight on Friday)
- Elmbridge, Surrey (from midnight on Friday)
- North East Derbyshire (from midnight on Friday)
- Chesterfield (from midnight on Friday)
- York (from midnight on Friday)
- Barrow in Furness (from midnight on Friday)
- Erewash, Derbyshire (from midnight on Friday)
- Cheshire West and Chester
- Cheshire East
- St John's
- Old Glossop
- Howard Town
- Hadfield South
- Hadfield North
- Blackburn with Darwen
- South Ribble
- West Lancashire
- South Tyneside
- North Tyneside
- Redcar and Cleveland
- Oadby and Wigston
- Nottingham City
- Newark and Sherwood
Liverpool City Region, comprising 1.6 million people, remains the only area currently in in the third tier.
However, public health officials formally recommended that Greater Manchester and Lancashire be moved from tier two to three at a meeting of the Gold Command on October 14.
Tiers get stricter as numbers get higher.
Areas in tier two – where there is a high risk of coronavirus – are banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs.
When meeting outside, only two households will be able to mix.
Current social distancing measures, the "rule of six" outdoors and the 10pm curfew will continue in this tier.
However, all businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure way, unless they're closed by law – such as clubs and adult entertainment venues.
Areas in the third tier must comply with all of those restrictions – but some businesses must shut.
Gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centres have to shut their doors.
Manchester's leaders have spoken of their "fury" after learning the region is set to be plunged into tier three today – with no extra funding from No10.
Tense crunch talks with Downing Street have resulted in an angry stalemate.
The move will place the two regions on "very high" alert levels, with pubs forced to shut and households banned from mixing.
And now one MP has accused the Government of bringing in a 'national lockdown in all but name', according to the Guardian.
The anonymous official said: "I don't like to be flippant, but that's called the whole of south east of England.
"This is a national lockdown by stealth."
Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, told the Telegraph there was "unanimous fury" over "the process, the evidence base and the economic support" offered.
She argued Manchester has "lived in tier two for weeks now and it has not worked".
Today, the Health Secretary told MPs: 'It'll get worse before it gets better.'
During his statement to the Commons on tier two restrictions, Mr Hancock said: "The central change is that people cannot now meet other households socially indoors.
"This applies in any setting at home, or in a restaurant or in any other venue.
"The rule of six still applies in any outdoor setting and although you may continue to travel to open venues, you should reduce the number of journeys where possible.
"Now, I know that these measures are not easy but I also know that they are vital.
"Responding to this unprecedented pandemic requires difficult choices, some of the most difficult choices any Government has to make in peacetime.
"We make these decisions with a heavy heart with the sole aim to steering our nation through troubled waters.
"Things will get worse before they get better but I know that there are brighter skies and calmer seas ahead."
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