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Britain outlines lockdown plans for pandemic festive season

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Senior members of the English and Scottish governments in Britain have outlined the lockdown restrictions for residents in their countries over the next few weeks.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed in a speech to parliament on Thursday which areas in England will have the toughest local lockdown rules when the country comes out of nationwide quarantine on Dec. 2.

England will revert to a tiered system.

Under tier 1, the most relaxed restrictions, up to six people are allowed to meet inside and outside and most businesses – including pubs and restaurants – can remain open as long as they offer table service.

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Hancock said cities in northern England and the Midlands, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Leicester, would face the toughest restrictions, known as tier 3, while London would be in tier 2.

Residents in tier 2 are allowed to socialise with people in groups of up to six people outside, but not inside, and pubs and restaurants can stay open, with table service, but can only sell alcohol alongside “substantial” meals.

Residents in tier 3 are not allowed to socialise with others indoors or most places outdoors, unless they live with them, and pubs and restaurants will only allow takeaway services.

Hancock said that hospital admissions had fallen 7 per cent and cases were down 19 per cent compared to last week.

The new measures will be reviewed in two weeks.

Before his speech, a website was published by the British government allowing people to see which tier they are in.

It crashed moments after launch, prompting criticism for Hancock from fellow lawmakers.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meanwhile told that country’s parliament that restrictions would be eased over the Christmas period between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27 to allow residents to travel throughout Britain to meet friends and family.

The announcement comes after Wales, England, Northern Ireland and all agreed to relax restrictions over Christmas. Each nation will follow the same rules from Dec. 23 to Dec. 27.

Meetings will be allowed of up to three households – which means parents will be able to see two of their children at their home if they all live apart.

Scotland’s current restrictions also follow a tiered system similar to the English model.

Under British law, Scotland’s parliament is devolved, meaning it can set its agenda and pass laws on day-to-day life in Scotland.

Meanwhile, the parliament in Westminster, London, sets laws for Britain as a whole.

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