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FEARS have risen that Christmas could be at risk from a new, harsher coronavirus tiers system to stop the spread of the virus.
Hopes of lifting all the lockdown rules after December 2 were dashed on Monday after PHE boss Dr Susan Hopkins said Tier 1 wasn't working - which could put family dinners and indoor parties under threat.
Tier 1 rules - the lowest level of restrictions which are in place across the country - include the 10pm pub curfew and the rule of six.
But tonight it was suggested this may be scrapped or made even tougher when England emerges from the four-week shut down on December 2.
The next stage up is Tier 2, where people are banned from mixing indoors with people from other households.
Dr Hopkins said on Monday: "We see very little effect from Tier 1.
"When we look at what the Tiers may be in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone."
Tier 2 was only working in some areas - but Tier 3 was driving down cases in the North West, she said.
She suggested that "if the lockdown is working, we will start to see cases decline over the next week".
If it doesn't, then lifting the rules in full would be at risk, she added.
And Matt Hancock told the nation: "it's not about whether there is a Tier system but what about measures are in each Tier."
But he said that no such discussions have taken place yet in No10.
Her warning came as the average number of cases rose last week from 22,000 to more than 25,000.
Fears for Christmas as Tier system ‘isn’t working’ and harsher rules needed, warns PHE boss
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