Covid-19: Tougher tier rules when England lockdown ends

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Monday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. Boris Johnson confirms national lockdown to end, as England returns to three-tier system

The prime minister has confirmed that the national lockdown in England will come to an end on 2 December and individual regions will return to tiered restrictions. Gyms and non-essential shops in all parts of England will be allowed to reopen, weddings, funerals and group worship can take place and pubs will no longer have to close at 22:00, where tier rules allow. However, Boris Johnson warned that tier restrictions will have to be toughened to bring down the R rate. He also said there are likely to be more areas in tier three, where strict measures on hospitality and household mixing will still apply. Tiers for each region will be announced on Thursday and reviewed every 14 days.

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2. Fans allowed to return to sporting events as lockdown ban lifted

Up to 4,000 fans are set to be allowed to attend outdoor sporting events in the lowest-risk areas when the national lockdown in England ends. The resumption of spectator sport was announced as part of the prime minister's statement to the House of Commons. A maximum of 2,000 fans will be allowed in tier two areas, but there will be no spectators sanctioned for sport taking place in areas subject to tier three restrictions. In addition, grassroots and amateur sport, which has been halted since 5 November, will be allowed to restart - meaning people will once again be able to enjoy playing outdoor sports such as football, golf and tennis in a social setting.

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3. Covid rules 'disregarded' as Swale becomes worst-hit area

Coronavirus rules are being "wilfully disregarded" in the north Kent area of Swale, according to the local council leader. The borough currently has the highest infection rate in England, with 631.7 cases per 100,000 people for the week to 18 November. Roger Truelove, leader of Swale Borough Council, said it was "frustrating" to see some people still not wearing face coverings and continuing to break social distancing rules - adding that it was "hugely unfair for people and businesses who have been doing the right thing since March". Andrew Scott-Clark, public health director at Kent County Council, said the virus was chiefly spreading in the community, with infections rising among households whose members cannot work from home.

4. Christmas comes first, as Sturgeon warns of Hogmanay restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon has said there is unlikely to be any relaxation of Covid restrictions to allow for Hogmanay festivities at new year. The first minister said progress was being made in UK-wide talks to allow "a small number of households" to meet for "a small number of days" over the Christmas period. However, when asked why Christmas was being prioritised over new year, she said: "Well, maybe Christmas is a more important time for the kids," adding: "we can't do everything right now."

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5. Fancy serving Christmas drinks from a British Airways trolley?

British Airways is literally selling off the family china. On Monday, the cash-strapped airline began selling thousands of items of surplus stock, from champagne flutes and drinks trolleys to bone china butter dishes and bedding. It comes after the airline, whose business has been badly hit by the pandemic and its impact on global travel, auctioned a number of artworks in the summer. BA's Carolina Martinoli said she expected the cabin items "to fly [off the shelves]". "We are delighted to be able to offer them in time for Christmas to give people the opportunity to make it memorable during a difficult year," she said.

image copyrightBritish Airways

And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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