Boris Johnson is set to hold a speech ahead of England’s transition from lockdown to the new local tier system.
The prime minister is expected to give a press conference about the new restrictions, which have again seen areas put into one of three tiers of limitations.
It is hoped the rules, which are stricter for some businesses than the previous model, will keep COVID infections down over winter as England is released from lockdown.
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, made a statement on which local authorities will be placed into which bracket on Thursday morning, which Johnson’s conference coming later.
What time were the tiers announced?
“These decisions are not easy, but they are necessary,” he said.
“While all three tiers are less stringent than the national lockdown that we’re all living in now, to keep people safe and to keep the gains that are being made, more areas than before will be in the top two tiers.
“This is necessary to protect our NHS and keep the virus under control.”
What is the new tier system?
The new set of tiers appears similar to the pre-lockdown model, which saw an area placed into one of three tiers – 1, or medium, being the most lax and 3, or very high, being the tightest.
Ministers have insisted the strategy did bring the R number – a measure of how fast the coronavirus outbreak is spreading – down, but not enough that a second lockdown was avoided.
Watch: England enters strengthened tier system
In Tier 1, people will be told to work from home where possible and stick to the rule of six when meeting people. Spectators for sports will be allowed to return with limited capacity in grounds.
In Tier 2, pubs and restaurants can only sell alcohol with a substantial meal, and spectators for sports will be allowed with a lower capacity than in Tier 1.
It will not be possible to meet people you don’t live with indoors, unless they are in your support bubble. Outdoors, the rule of six will apply.
Tier 3 will see a ban on spectators, pubs and restaurants will have to operate as takeaway services only, and residents will not be able to meet people they don’t live with indoors or most outdoor spaces.
They can socialise in groups of up to six in some other outdoor public spaces, such as parks, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or countryside accessible to the public.
While hospitality venues will need to contend with these tighter rules, the 10pm curfew has been pushed back to 11pm.
It has also been announced that non-essential shops and gyms can be open in all three levels and the ban on outdoor grassroots sport and collective worship will also be lifted.
Which areas went into Tier 3?
Many parts of the North East, Yorkshire, the North West and Midlands have been put into Tier 3, with Slough also joining the tougher restrictions.
Areas are placed into different tiers based on factors including the rate of infection in people aged over 60, the infection rate in people of all ages, whether infections are rising or falling, the rate of positive COVID-19 tests and the pressure on the NHS.
Did anywhere get into Tier 1?
Just three places made it into England’s laxest form of restrictions. The Isle of Wight is joined by the Isles of Scilly in Tier 1, while Cornwall is the only part of mainland England outside of Tier 2 or 3.
What time is Boris Johnson's speech?
Details of the prime minister’s speech have yet to be confirmed but chancellor Rishi Sunak said he will be speaking from Downing Street later.
He is expected to discuss the tier system at the 5pm press conference.
Johnson is now out of self-isolation after coming into contact with Tory MP Lee Anderson who later tested positive for coronavirus.
Watch: How will the new tier system work?