New three-tier lockdown planned for England: The Guardian

A cyclist is seen in Carnaby Street, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

(Reuters) - A new three-tier lockdown is being planned for England, The Guardian reported, citing leaked government documents which revealed tougher measures that could be implemented locally or nationally if the government fails to get COVID-19 cases under control.

The new lockdown would potentially entail harsher restrictions including the closure of pubs and a ban on all social contact outside household groups, the newspaper said

According to the documents seen by The Guardian, the draft plan called the ‘COVID-19 Proposed Social Distancing Framework’ is designed to simplify the existing localized restrictions.

The plans have not yet been finalised and signed off by No.10 officials and several of the measures could still be relaxed, according to the newspaper.

Britain gradually came out of a national lockdown over the summer, but many areas including major cities such as Manchester and Glasgow are currently subject to local restrictions.

In an interview on Sunday British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied a suggestion that the local restrictions were not working given infection rates were still rising in the affected areas and there was no end in sight to the measures.

The three-tier system is aimed at improving people’s compliance with the rules, the Guardian said, stating that many citizens do not have a clear understanding of the rules that apply to them.

The levels are intended to be ‘minimum standards’ and specific local circumstances would also be taken into account, the newspaper said, citing a government source.

The government had last week announced a tightening of restrictions on socializing in northeast England, in response to high and increasing COVID-19 infection rates in the region - the latest in a series of local measures.

Reporting by Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis