Coronavirus news live: Half of England placed under tier 2 lockdown as Hancock accuses Burnham of ‘playing politics’

Chiara Giordano,Samuel Osborne and Tom Batchelor
A man wearing a face mask walks past an entrance to Belfast City Hospital  (Brian Lawless/PA)
A man wearing a face mask walks past an entrance to Belfast City Hospital (Brian Lawless/PA)

London, Essex and York are to go into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Friday evening, banning people from mixing inside their homes or other indoor spaces with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

Plans to force Greater Manchester into the harshest Tier 3 restrictions, meanwhile, have been shelved after protests from local leaders.

Government scientific advisers have warned the NHS test and trace system could be “virtually meaningless” because it is capturing such a small proportion of cases as infections rapidly escalate.

Watch: How will England’s three-tier lockdown system work?