London, Essex and York tough restrictions imposed – while Liverpool intensive care beds reach capacity

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Covid-19 patients – Liverpool's intensive care units are full of coronavirus patients

MILLIONS of people in London, Essex, York and other areas face tougher Tier 2 Covid measures from Saturday, Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday.

Under this ‘high’ alert level, there is a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

It comes as a final decision has yet to be made on whether Greater Manchester faces ‘very high’ Tier 3 measures.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has threatened legal action if measures are enforced on Greater Manchester.

More than half of England’s population will now be living under high or very high-alert restrictions.

Hancock, calling for a national government said to Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth: ‘Labour can’t even get its Mayors in other parts of the country where the cases are going up to come out and support the proposals that are made from that dispatch box.

‘So what I say is that we have to work together. We need to pull together, everybody should come together, and that is the best way to defeat this virus.’

Hancock also said that the virus spread in Liverpool is ‘out of control’.

Earlier, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said he was ‘categorically told’ by the government last weekend that Liverpool City Region would be placed under the highest tier restrictions.

Cases in Liverpool have soared. Professor Calum Semple, a Sage member from Liverpool University, warned yesterday that 90% of the capacity of the intensive care units in Liverpool’s hospitals is taken up with Covid patients.

Also, the main hospital wards in these hospitals now contain as many Covid patients as they did in the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April.

The case numbers of coronavirus have been steadily rising in the Liverpool area and large parts of the north of England throughout September, and these have now translated into surging hospital admissions, with patients having to be ventilated in intensive care units.

The Chief Executive of Liverpool University Hospital Foundation Trust, Steve Warburton, said that the trust had reached a ‘critical point’, with coronavirus patients occupying 250 beds, the highest in the country. He added that the hospital would have to cut down on providing elective NHS services.

Operations are being cancelled as the hospital struggles to cope with coronavirus admissions.

Other hospitals in the UK have said they are stopping routine operations including Swansea and Plymouth.

Yesterday the Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, protested at his region being put into the ‘very high’ alert level, Tier 3 by the government. He attacked the lack of financial support, pushing thousands of low-paid workers below the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, Dame Louise Casey, the expert who has organised projects to house the homeless for successive governments, warned of the homeless crisis hitting Liverpool now.

She said: ‘The Treasury is not giving enough support to help the most vulnerable.’

She added that the measures proposed, could lead ‘destitution for countless people’.

She said: ‘The plan to offer two thirds of wages from November 1st,’ suggests that people can get by with ‘two thirds of the money to buy food, and two thirds of the money to pay the rent’.

‘Is the government asking people to go out and prostitute themselves?

‘I have worked in Whitehall for 20 years, and I have never been so alarmed.’