What coronavirus rules are changing in the UK from Boxing Day?

There are different rules across all four nations.

An empty Oxford Circus
An empty Oxford Circus

Coronavirus restrictions are set to change across the UK on Boxing Day.

Here, we look at the rules for all four nations.

– What changes are being made in England?

Tier 4, the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, is being extended to cover large swathes of eastern and south-east England.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Areas moving to Tier 4 are Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, parts of Essex not yet in the highest tier, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire, with the exception of the New Forest.

There is no change in the West Midlands, with the Black Country, Birmingham and Staffordshire staying in Tier 3 and Shropshire and Telford in Tier 2.

– Are any other areas moving into a tougher tier?

Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire plus Cheshire and Warrington are moving up to Tier 3.

Elsewhere, Cornwall and Herefordshire are moving up to Tier 2.

– Why are harsher measures being imposed in more areas?

New measures are being imposed against a backdrop of increasing infections, hospital admissions and a new more contagious variant in the UK which was announced last week.

– Where else will see changes to restrictions?

In Northern Ireland, a six-week lockdown will start on Boxing Day, with non-essential retail and close-contact services closed and hospitality outlets limited to takeaway services.

In the week following Christmas, a form of curfew will be in operation from 8pm, with shops closed from that time and all indoor and outdoor gatherings prohibited until 6am.

A sign in Belfast
A six-week lockdown will start in Northern Ireland on Boxing Day (Brian Lawless/PA)

– What about restrictions in Scotland?

Mainland Scotland will enter Level 4 restrictions from Saturday, with the Scottish Government intending the increased measures to last for three weeks.

Non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants will have to shut except for takeaways, while only essential travel will be allowed.

– And have the rules changed in Wales?

Tough new restrictions that were eased in Wales for Christmas Day will be re-imposed on Saturday.

Non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres have been forced to close, with people told to stay at home and only permitted to travel for “essential reasons”.

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