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Coronavirus: Dark winter in Britain

11:18 PM Oct 23, 2020 | Aditi Khanna

Millions of people across the UK enter tougher lockdown from Friday, including a complete "firebreak" shutdown in Wales, as the country battles to get a grip on a resurgence of COVID-19. Greater Manchester's population of 2.8 million joined Liverpool City Region and Lancashire in England's highest tier of restrictions at midnight, which involves a near-complete business shutdown.

South Yorkshire will move into the same Tier 3 restrictions from midnight on Saturday, bringing the total number of people living under England's tightest rules to more than seven million.

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Tier 3 of "very high" COVID-19 alert level means people cannot mix with other households and pubs and bars will be closed - unless they are serving substantial meals. Some areas in the top tier have also gone further, closing businesses such as bingo halls, casinos, betting shops and soft play centres.

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Under the tier system backed up by fines for serious breaches laid out by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, Tier 1 is set at a medium COVID-19 alert with some meeting between households permitted within the "rule of six" on gathering numbers and a high alert of stricter movement and gathering rules are set for Tier 2 - the category in which London was added to last weekend.

And from Friday evening, 3.1 million people in Wales will have to stay at home as the 17-day firebreak lockdown begins. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford used his daily briefing to hit back at critics of his tough stance.

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