Covid-19: Suffolk remains with highest level of restrictions

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image captionIpswich had the highest rate of Covid-19 cases in Suffolk

Suffolk is to remain in tier four - the highest level of anti-coronavirus restrictions - following the government's latest announcements.

Under tier four, all non-essential shops must close, along with hair salons and leisure centres.

Ipswich has the worst rate in the county with 273.2 cases per 100,000 (374 new cases) in the seven days to 25 December.

It is up from 254.9 cases per 100,000 (349 cases) in the week to 18 December.

Following the announcement, Suffolk MP James Cartlidge questioned the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson in the House of Commons over plans to delay reopening secondary schools by two weeks.

Mr Cartlidge, the member for South Suffolk, asked if vaccinating teachers as soon as possible "would not only make schools safer and boost teacher morale, but actually would reduce part of the pressure on closing schools in the first place?"

Mr Williamson said the vaccination programme was being initially targeted at the most clinically vulnerable.

He added: "But as we get through that stage of clinical need, I would certainly hope that we would be able to look at how we can use vaccinations for those who are in the teaching profession and who support education."

What are the restrictions in tier four?

  • Residents should stay at home, unless they have a "reasonable excuse" such as work or education
  • All non-essential shops must close
  • Hairdressers and nail bars must close
  • Indoor entertainment venues must close
  • Gyms and indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts and dance studios must close
  • You cannot meet other people indoors, unless you live with them or they are part of your support bubble
  • People should not leave tier four areas or travel abroad, except for limited reasons (including work and education)
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are only allowed in exceptional circumstances

"Clinically extremely vulnerable" people in tier four areas are advised to stay at home "as much as possible". The government says if they cannot work from home, they should not go to work.

What can you do in tier four?

Activities still allowed include:

  • Meeting one other person from another household in an open public space, if you are both alone
  • Shopping for essentials such as food and medicine
  • Outdoor pools, playgrounds, sports courts, golf courses and horse riding centres can open
  • You can leave home for work, education, training, childcare and for medical appointments and emergencies
  • Communal religious worship
  • Support bubbles are still allowed and children can move between separated parents

For a more detailed look at coronavirus where you live, use the BBC's postcode checker:

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