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Some parts of England could have their coronavirus restrictions eased before Christmas – a cabinet minister

Speaking to Kay Burley, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said there was “every reason” to believe some areas could be moved down the COVID-19 tier system when there is a review in the middle of December.

“It is possible,” he said.

“There will be a review point in 14 days’ time, around December 16.

“At that point we – advised by the experts – will look at each local authority area and see whether there is potential to move down the tiers.

“There were a number of places which were quite finely balanced judgments where they were on the cusp of different tiers. Those are the places that are more likely to be in that position.”

Mr Jenrick said a relaxation of restrictions over Christmas – which will see three households allowed to mix over five days – will likely “drive some higher rate of infection”.

“Our overall approach is trying to ensure the tiers hold the line and that places are in a process of de-escalation,” he continued.

“What we don’t want to do is ease up too quickly and then find that in January we are having to put tiers back in place again.

“But there is every reason to believe that places could see a change at December 16-17 time.”

Ahead of the end of the second national lockdown on 2 December, the allocation of the tiers was revealed on Thursday.

It was revealed that 99% of England’s population will fall under the two toughest tiers.

About 32 million people – covering 57.3% of England – will fall into Tier 2.

But 23.3 million people – 41.5% of the population – are going to be placed in Tier 3.

Large parts of the Midlands, the North East and the North West will be subject to the severest measures.

Hospitality venues will be closed in the run-up to Christmas unless they can provide takeaway or delivery services, and households are forbidden from mixing indoors.

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