Northamptonshire's neighbours plunged into TIER FOUR by PM's shock announcement

Festive window changed to Christmas Day ONLY for our county
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Two of Northamptonshire's neighbouring areas have been plunged into even tougher Covid restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today revealed the virus is spreading more rapidly than expected.

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And he said a new Tier Four, ordering people to stay at home and closing non-essential shops, will come into force tomorrow in London and the South East.

This includes Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, which were only entered Tier Three today following the latest review.

In Northamptonshire, the planned five-day window allowing families to get together over the holidays has now been reduced to Christmas Day ONLY — and scrapped completely for Tier Four areas .

The PM said he has been briefed on the latest data, which shows Covid-19 is spreading more rapidly than expected.

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He adds that the spread is being driven by a new variant of the virus, announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier this week.

PM Boris Johnson. Photo: Getty ImagesPM Boris Johnson. Photo: Getty Images
PM Boris Johnson. Photo: Getty Images

There is "no evidence" that it causes more severe illness, but it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily.

Mr Johnson says initial indications are that it is 70 per cent more transmissible than the original variant of the disease and stresses that the government must act.

From midnight , a new Tier Four will start in Kent, Essex, Beds, Bucks and across all 32 London Boroughs. A stay at home order will be issued to residents — although those who need t travel for education or work may continue to do so.

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Social mixing restricted to meeting one other person in an open public space.

All non-essential retail will have to close along with hairdressers, nail bars and indoor entertainment venues for at least two weeks.