Coronavirus: Dark winter in Britain

Millions of people across the UK enter tougher lockdown from Friday, including a complete "firebreak" shutdown in Wales, as the country battles to get a grip on a resurgence of COVID-19. Greater Manchester's population of 2.8 million joined Liverpool City Region and Lancashire in England's highest tier of restrictions at midnight, which involves a near-complete business shutdown.

South Yorkshire will move into the same Tier 3 restrictions from midnight on Saturday, bringing the total number of people living under England's tightest rules to more than seven million.

Tier 3 of "very high" COVID-19 alert level means people cannot mix with other households and pubs and bars will be closed - unless they are serving substantial meals. Some areas in the top tier have also gone further, closing businesses such as bingo halls, casinos, betting shops and soft play centres.

Under the tier system backed up by fines for serious breaches laid out by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, Tier 1 is set at a medium COVID-19 alert with some meeting between households permitted within the "rule of six" on gathering numbers and a high alert of stricter movement and gathering rules are set for Tier 2 - the category in which London was added to last weekend.

And from Friday evening, 3.1 million people in Wales will have to stay at home as the 17-day firebreak lockdown begins. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford used his daily briefing to hit back at critics of his tough stance.

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Free Press Journal