LIVERPOOL will be plunged into the strictest "very high risk" Level 3 lockdown with pubs forced to close and household mixing will be banned from Wednesday.
Boris Johnson announced the three tiers of local lockdowns and drastic new restrictions this afternoon as Liverpool's hospitals reached a "critical" level of coronavirus admissions and have begun scaling back non-Covid surgeries to cope with the surge.
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The tough restrictions mean from Wednesday people in Liverpool and Merseyside won't be allowed to mix with other households anywhere indoors, or in private gardens.
And pubs and bars will be closed, but restaurants will be allowed to stay open.
According to Press Association, pubs which serve meals will be able to stay open.
Betting shops, gyms and casinos will also be told to close.
Mr Johnson said this afternoon the new rules were needed because "transmission is rising" and it is essential the NHS does not become overwhelmed to the point it cannot carry out other services.
If new restrictions are not brought in, Mr Johnson said: "Our doctors and nurses would be simply unable to devote themselves to other treatments for cancer and heat disease and hundreds more that have already, and would be delayed again.
"(This would cause) serious long term damage to the health of the nation."
Liverpool has one of the worst infection rates in the country, with 669.5 cases per 100,000 people.
The restrictions will be in place for at least four weeks, when they will be up for review by the Government.
It is the highest level of the new system of local lockdowns, which range from "medium" with the national rule of six and 10pm curfew to "very high" with some hospitality and leisure businesses told to shut up shop.
Those in the middle level "high" will be banned from mixing households anywhere indoors.
The number of people being admitted to hospitals in Liverpool are the third highest in Europe and could be heading for the dreaded top spot with a huge spike in new patients.
- Liverpool will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions
- Nottinghamshire will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions
- East and West Cheshire will be under Tier 3
- A small area of High Peak will also go to Tier 3
- The North East is understood to be going into Tier 2 restrictions
- Manchester is expected to be put into Tier 2
- Birmingham faces Tier 2 restrictions
- Leicester is also expected to be put on Tier 2
NHS chief Dr Stephen Powis warned Liverpool hospitals were seeing the steepest increase in new admissions as he delivered a dire warning about the worsening second wave of coronavirus in the UK.
He said in a Downing Street briefing today: "Liverpool University Hospital is seeing the steepest increase in its beds (with Covid patients)
"And the same is happening in other hospitals in the region."
There are more than 250 patients with coronavirus in beds at Liverpool university hospitals, as the emergency Nightingale hospitals are being readied to deal with the crisis.
According a memo from chief exec of Liverpool University Hospitals Steve Warburton, seen by the Health Service Journal, Liverpool hospitals have had to start scaling back on elective and non-urgent procedures.
The memo said the trust was "taking a phased approach" to reducing its "elective programme" while trying to find other health services to help keep up crucial non-Covid procedures.
It said: “We will continue to prioritise surgery based on clinical need with a view to maintaining urgent and cancer surgery where possible.
“We will continue to maintain access to outpatient appointments wherever possible and maintain diagnostic activity.
“We recognise that this will be distressing for patients whose elective care needs to be rescheduled, however we must always ensure that the care we provide is safe.
“We understand that this is a very challenging time for staff and we will be sharing more information about the enhanced support we have in place for you in the coming days.”
The trust has started retraining staff to prepare for intensive care to be units full of coronavirus patients and non-specialist critical care teams will be redeployed to cope with a surge in new hospital admissions.
Liverpool hospitals currently have the third highest level of hospital admissions in Europe, according to Sky News.
And the crisis has taken a dramatic turn for the worse over the last 24 to 36 hours, with 20 per cent of admissions now made up of coronavirus patients – up from 15 per cent on Saturday.
Dr Powis warned today that there are more patients in hospital with coronavirus than there were at the start of the national lockdown in March.
He said: "We now have more patients in hospital with Covid-19 than we did when the Government announced restrictions on March 23."
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