The restrictions come as a further 534 deaths were recorded today (19/12)Lucas Maddalena

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty, have announced in a press conference this afternoon (19/12) that new Tier 4 restrictions will come into effect from tomorrow (20/12) in London and large areas of South-East England, with Cambridge remaining under Tier 2 restrictions.

Aside from the City of London and the capital’s 32 boroughs, areas affected include Kent, Buckinghamshire, Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire and Peterborough.

Tier 4 restrictions will see non-essential retail, gyms and leisure shut down. Those living in the newly-affected areas are advised to work from home where possible, not enter or leave Tier 4 areas or stay away from home overnight, and to meet only one person from another household outside. Similar restrictions have also been announced in Wales, to be adopted from midnight tonight.

The restrictions mean that Tier 4 residents are no longer permitted to mix outside of their own households over Christmas.

The press conference comes as 27,052 new cases were announced today (19/12), alongside a further 534 deaths. 

Although Cambridge will remain in Tier 2, with Peterborough being the only area of Cambridgeshire that will be placed under Tier 4 restrictions, the changes to Christmas arrangements will extend across the country.

The previous arrangements, permitting three households to form a bubble between the 23rd and 27th of December, will be restricted to solely Christmas Day in areas placed under Tier 1, 2 and 3 restrictions.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, in a press release responding to the announcement, expressed his sympathy, acknowledging that “these new restrictions will come as a bitter blow for people who were hoping to see loved ones this Christmas.” He proceeded to criticise Prime Minister Boris Johnson for being “too slow.” 

Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, has also criticised the Prime Minister for causing “confusion” as “Christmas plans [are] ripped up with less than a week’s notice,” after he called for the Government to “look again at Christmas restrictions” earlier this week (15/12.) 

The press conference placed significant emphasis on the new strain of the virus, which is said to make up 59% of cases in the East of England, 43% in the South East of England, and 62% in London. 

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