The UK’s hospitals are receiving higher volumes of patients than at the peak of the first wave in April, while on December 28 the number of further lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded in a single day in the UK also hit a new high of 41,385.
There are fears that these cases could rise further following the Christmas period when families across the country defied last-minute government restrictions and celebrated the festive season together, despite the emergence of a more contagious variant of the respiratory disease.
The exponential rise in cases has prompted reports that Boris Johnson’s government may be set to strengthen coronavirus restrictions further following the next tier review.
When is the next tier review?
The UK government’s tier restrictions are, by law, to be reviewed at least every two weeks.
The next scheduled review of restrictions is December 30.
The last review of restrictions took place on December 16 with a government announcement following a day later on Dcember 17.
What’s the current situation in England?
On Boxing Day changes to England’s tier system saw millions of people moved under harsher coronavirus restrictions.
Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire moved into Tier 4
Parts of Essex also moved into the toughest tier. Meanwhile, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire plus Cheshire and Warrington all moved up to Tier 3.
Cornwall and Herefordshire both moved up to Tier 2, where the main restrictions are no household mixing allowed indoors, but the “rule of six” applies outdoors.
There are now more Covid-19 patients in NHS hospitals in England than during the peak of the first wave in April.
The NHS England data shows there were 20,426 patients in NHS hospitals in England as of 8am on Monday, compared to the 18,974 patients recorded on April 12.
The number of further lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded in a single day in the UK also hit a new high of 41,385 as of 9am Monday, according to Government figures.
What could happen at the next tier review?
The Telegraph reported that parts of England under tier 4 restrictions could be placed under even stricter rules.
It claimed that a government source suggested that parts of the country could soon be under tier 5 restrictions.
Boris Johnson has previously refused to rule out a third national lockdown should the virus continue to spread out of control.
Speaking on December 18 he said: “We’re hoping very much that we will be able to avoid anything like that. But the reality is that the rates of infection have increased very much in the last few weeks.”