Army sent into Tier 3 lockdown areas

The Army has been sent into Tier 3 lockdown areas to help fight coronavirus.

The forces are being called on to help with the “national effort” of suppressing the second wave of infections.

A team was deployed to Liverpool on Friday, where they will help to identify local sources
of infection and aid environmental health officers enforcing Covid rules.

The troops, who will not be in uniform, will free up the council’s team to conduct enforcement of Covid regulations and analyse information gathered from NHS Track and Trace to monitor outbreaks.

In Tier 3 areas, pubs and bars must stay shut other than to serve substantial meals, while betting shops, casinos and soft play areas are closed.

Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire have followed the Liverpool region into lockdown, while Warrington, West Yorkshire and Nottingham are set to follow in the coming days.

Further teams are expected to be deployed to Tier 3 areas in the coming weeks, to carry out a range of tasks depending on local needs, the Telegraph reports.

The military is currently carrying out more than 30 tasks for local authorities.

Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch, the UK’s standing joint commander, said: “We are all extremely proud to be able to support this national effort, and remain ready to respond to all requests for further support throughout the winter period.”

On Saturday, South Yorkshire became the latest area to move to England’s top level of restrictions, 24 hours after Greater Manchester, while Wales has embarked on a two-week circuit breaker national lockdown with scenes of chaos in supermarkets as items deemed to be “non-essential” were covered up.

The initial military deployment to Liverpool comprises five Army and Navy environmental health officers trained in “outbreak management”.

The crack team will help identify clusters of cases and trends, and free up council officers to enforce rules.

Boris Johnson remains hopeful of being able to relax the tiered lockdown rules to allow families to enjoy Christmas together.

On Saturday, Professor Neil Ferguson said the coronavirus restrictions could be lifted for one or two days allowing extended family members to meet up and spend time together and called the decision a “political judgement”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “If it is only one or two days the impact is likely to be limited.

“So that is really a political judgment about the cost versus the benefits.”

But the man behind Britain’s March lockdown warned it will still risk transmission and there will be consequences.

He warned: “It risks transmission and there will be consequences of that. Some people will die because of getting infected on that day.”

A further 23,012 cases were confirmed across the UK, with another 174 deaths recorded.

There are now 7,850 people in hospital with coronavirus and 743 on ventilators, latest figures show.