Anyone travelling from tier four areas in England and from Wales to Greater Manchester and the West Midlands is being asked to self-isolate for at least 10 days—with no visitors allowed even on Christmas Day.
Regional public health officials issued the guidance on Monday that travellers from any tier four areas and Wales must act as if they have the new variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus when they arrive, starting from Dec. 19.
The guidelines apply to all visitors “even if they have no symptoms,” Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, a local director of public health, said in a statement.
de Gruchy said it’s “extremely worrying” that the new variant of the CCP virus that is “incredibly infectious” is rapidly spreading in the tier four areas—which cover London, and most of South East and East of England.
Only individuals travelling from tier four areas needs to isolate, not the whole household, but if during that time anyone in the house develops symptoms, they must isolate and get a test straight away.
The officials also urged all people to take “extreme care” by scrupulously sticking to the government guidance—keeping at least a two-metre distance from people, wearing a face covering, washing hands frequently, and opening windows for 10 to 20 minutes every hour when staying indoors.
Greater Manchester is not categorised as tier four, however, infection rates are rising in seven out of ten boroughs after a fall for many weeks, and officials remain concerned.
“It’s safe for people to assume that [the new variant] is already here or that it is about to arrive,” Mayor Andy Burnham said during a press conference on Tuesday. “We need to do everything we possibly can, all of us, to slow this down.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the tier four guidelines and a “stay at home” warning on Saturday, Dec. 19, in response to the new virus variant.
Those people living in tier four areas should not leave the area or stay overnight at anyone’s house, nor should they mix with other households. Outdoors, individuals are allowed to meet with one other person, while all non-essential shops and businesses have been forced to close.
The tier four rules will not be relaxed for Christmas, meaning that a Christmas bubble cannot be formed with other households during the festive period.
The government confirmed in a statement that the tier four rules will be reviewed on Dec. 30 as part of the wider review of all restrictions.