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MATT Hancock will plunge millions more into Tier 4 today as he warned we “have to take further action”.

The Health Secretary will tell MPs later today which areas will be put into a near-lockdown, with shops, indoor activities, gyms and hairdressers shut to stop the Covid spread.

Burnley, Tier 3, 465.6 cases per 100,000Eden, Tier 2, 458.2Pendle, Tier 3, 390.8Northampton, Tier 3, 366.9Hartlepool, Tier 3, 365.1South Northamptonshire, Tier 3, 354.5Carlisle, Tier 2, 348.7Oadby and Wigston, Tier 3, 347.3Lincoln, Tier 3, 344.4Sandwell, Tier 3, 337.3

Up to two THIRDS of the country may be put in Tier 4 after Covid cases rocketed yesterday – the highest daily rise since mass testing began.

He told Sky News today: “We are facing a very significant challenge in the NHS right now.”

“There has been a significant rise in the number of cases – the highest number of cases recorded yesterday, 53,000 cases.”We are going to have to take further action. I’m going to set that out the House of Commons later today.”

He is expected to address MPs at around 3pm – after the Brexit votes in the Commons.

He added on Radio 4: “The new variant means the suppression of the virus is also much harder. That is why we had to introduce Tier 4.

“I’ll be setting out the further extensions we are going to have to make to Tier 4 to the House of Commons later today.

“Absolutely it is necessary to take further action precisely because of the challenges we are facing right now.”

Already nearly half of England are in the top Tier 4 – with an extra six million people moved there from Boxing Day.

Data from the ZOE Symptom tracker app has revealed that areas such as Manchester and Leicester could be pushed into a harsh Tier 4 lockdown as cases continue to rise.

Regions with the highest rates currently outside of Tier 4 are Burnley, with 465.6 cases per 100,000 people, Tier 2 Eden in Cumbria, which has a rate of 485.2, and Pendle in Lancashire, with a rate of 390.8.

As of yesterday, Brentwood has the highest rates in the country, with 1,258.1 cases per 100,000 people.

Nearby Epping Forest and Thurrock are in second and third place on the grim hitlist, with 1,256 and 1,181.6 cases respectively.

Today Mr Hancock said the UK had enough coronavirus jabs ordered to vaccinate “the whole population”.

Giving a glimmer of hope this morning, he said said the vaccine will help Britain out of the pandemic by spring, as cases surge across the country.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

Matt Hancock said the approval was “fantastic news” and confirmed its rollout would begin on January 4.

The Health Secretary refused to say how many people could be inoculated in the new year, but confirmed two dosed of the jab would be given 12 weeks apart.

In addition, school pupils in Years 11 and 13 are likely to be delayed from returning until Monday January 11.

Other secondary pupils have already been told their returns will be staggered to give headteachers time to install mass testing regimes in classrooms.

But primary schools are likely to reopen as planned as part of a compromise plan in the education sector.

Hancock to put more in Tier 4 today as ‘we have to take further action’

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News – Tier 4 to be extended to millions more, Matt Hancock to announce today as ‘we have to take further action’