A GOVERNMENT source has suggested Tier 5 restrictions could be introduced to curb the rate of infections across the country. 

A so-called ‘Tier 5’ lockdown could affect millions of people within the next week as the new variants of Covid-19 continue to spread rapidly across the country.

A senior Whitehall source told The Express: "We are ruling nothing out, the new strain is of serious concern.

Read also: What you said about Tier 4 rules in Oxfordshire?

"Tier 4 appears not to be strong enough."

But what would a 'Tier 5' lockdown look like?

No Tier 5 has been confirmed yet, however, some have suggested what the new level of restrictions could entail, and it could resemble the restrictions in place during the first-ever national lockdown at the start of the year.

Back in March, more severe rules were in place, including people only being allowed outside for limited exercise and other essential reasons such as buying food or medicine.

Under current Tier 4 restrictions, which 43 per cent of England's population are currently under, people are only allowed to meet with one other person, not from their household in an outdoor space such as a park.

Read also: Should coronavirus restrictions be eased for New Year's Eve?

Tier 4 also means no household mixing is allowed and all non-essential shops must close.

Those living in Tier 4 areas also have been told they should stay at home, unless they have a "reasonable excuse" such as work or education.

Some have suggested if 'Tier 5' was introduced, people may no longer be able to meet up outside with another person from a different household.

Others have suggested rules about schools could also change under 'Tier 5', however, the Government has continually said they want to prioritize children staying in school.

Read more about 'Tier 5' here

In the first lockdown in March schools were closed for the majority of children, unless their caregivers were key workers.

Yesterday, Michael Gove said that he was 'confident' schools would reopen next week, but a number of headteachers and unions across the country have said they have not been given enough time to prepare for the mass testing required for a safe return.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) told BBC Breakfast said: “Eminent scientists have said that schools should remain closed; that’s what unions I think have been responding to.”

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