.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Ministers are due to decide whether to move more areas of England under the toughest restrictions amid concern over spreading of a new variant of Covid-19.

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said No 10 would make a “judgement” on whether the tiers system was “strong enough”.

He said there was no “immediate plan” to widen curbs on Boxing Day but “the number of cases is rising”.

The UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}extra curbs could be needed in more areas.

He told a Downing Street briefing on Monday that measures could “need to be increased in some places, in due course, not reduced”.

Mr Jenrick told BBC Breakfast that the Covid operations committee, chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will meet on Wednesday morning to discuss the tier system.

He said they were “trying to retain the robust tiered system” which takes a “proportionate approach” across the country, but said it had been designed before the new variant became apparent which is a “game changer”.

He said the new variant – which could be up to 70% more transmissible – was now present in other areas of the country, albeit to a “lesser extent” than in London, south-east and the east of England.

He said: “The variant is spreading to other parts of the country, so we will see whether it’s necessary to do more and make sure that the tiered system is sufficiently robust for the new circumstances.

“The tiered system was designed before we knew the full ferocity of the new variant, and so we do have to make sure it’s sufficiently robust to be able to withstand this and to stop cases just rising at the very worrying levels they are now in parts of the country.”

On Tuesday, a further 36,804 people in the UK tested positive for the virus and there were 691 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to government figures.

It is the largest daily number of cases recorded yet, though it is thought the infection rate was higher during the first peak in spring when testing was much more limited.

Mr Jenrick said decisions from the committee would be communicated “as soon as we can” and that there was “absolutely no plan” at the moment to change restrictions before Christmas Day.

He added the PM had been “very clear” that even outside of tier four, there was a “strong degree of personal judgment to be exercised here”.

He told told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s still up to people to come to a conclusion as to how many members of their family or other households they want to bring together on Christmas Day.

“The strong advice is to keep it small, to keep it short and therefore to be safe.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has written to Mr Johnson to say his party will back any government moves to tighten restrictions if that is what scientists recommend.

On Wednesday, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth urged the prime minister to act before it’s too later.

He told BBC Breakfast: “What we’re saying to Boris Johnson is, last time you received advice from the scientists for tougher restrictions, you sat on it, you dithered, you delayed.”

He urged the PM not to “sit on the advice this time”, adding “we know delaying has devastating consequence.

“If you’re advised to take tougher action, take it, do it, act with speed, don’t be behind the curve again.”

It comes as rail, air and sea services between the UK and France are resuming this morning after the French government agreed to ease its travel ban amid fears over the fast-spreading variant.

French citizens, British nationals living in France and hauliers are among those now able to travel – if they have a recent negative test.

He asks lawmakers to “remove wasteful and unnecessary items”, adding the package “really is a disgrace”.

playFauci hopes to encourage others by getting vaccine. VideoFauci hopes to encourage others by getting vaccine

playCan face masks help people sing together again? VideoCan face masks help people sing together again?

© 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. .css-1xgx53b-Link{font-family:ReithSans,Helvetica,Arial,freesans,sans-serif;font-weight:700;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;color:#FFFFFF;}.css-1xgx53b-Link:hover,.css-1xgx53b-Link:focus{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}Read about our approach to external linking.

Source: https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiJmh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmJiYy5jby51ay9uZXdzL3VrLTU1NDIyMzU40gEqaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmJjLmNvLnVrL25ld3MvYW1wL3VrLTU1NDIyMzU4?oc=5

News – Covid-19: Ministers to decide on extension of tier 4 curbs to more areas