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PM to confirm national restrictions will end on 2 December

The Prime Minister will tomorrow publish a Covid Winter Plan, setting out the next phase of the government’s Covid response.

On Monday, he will confirm national restrictions will end on 2 December and set out how England will move back into a three-tiered, regional set of restrictions.

Whilst some local measures will be similar to those in place previously, the tiers will also be strengthened in some areas in order to safeguard the gains made during the period of national restrictions.

It is expected that more areas will be placed into the higher tiers in order to keep the virus under control, and ensure further national restrictions are not required.

However, whilst these measures will be difficult, the Prime Minister will be clear that these restrictions will not last any longer than absolutely necessary and will take into account the need to protect livelihoods and support the economy.

The tiers will be reviewed on a regular basis, in line with the latest data and trends and there will be a legal obligation to keep measures under ongoing review.

Recent positive developments on vaccines and mass testing provide real confidence that the reliance on economic and social restrictions to control the virus can be gradually reduced in the run up to Spring.

Provided vaccines are approved by regulators, the first injections can be made next month before being rolled out more widely in the new year. Progress in mass testing is expected to help provide a way to suppress the virus and relax restrictions.

The plan is set to be discussed and signed off by Cabinet on Sunday, and announced by the Prime Minister in parliament on Monday.

It will also set out how people will be able to see their loved ones at Christmas, despite ministers being clear this will not be a normal festive period.

SAGE are likely to publish further papers on Monday, setting out the scientific advice that the previous tiers were not strong enough, and that a tougher regional approach is required.

On Thursday, ministers will announce which areas will be placed into which tier, which will be based on the latest data and impact of national restrictions. MPs will be able to vote on the tiering system before it comes into force.

A No10 spokesperson said:

“Everyone’s efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased pressures on the NHS.

“But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisors are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

“That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS.”

The Covid Winter Plan will also set out how scientific advances in vaccination, treatments and testing will help enable life to gradually return closer to normal.

Next month, the vaccination programme will begin – provided regulators approve the vaccines – and increases in mass testing will allow us to identify and isolate people who don’t have symptoms.

It is the Prime Minister’s hope and belief that progress in mass testing can – if everyone continues to pull together – provide a way to suppress the virus and relax restrictions until a vaccine becomes available.

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