Most of England is expected to face tough coronavirus restrictions when the new tier arrangements are set out, with bans on households mixing indoors and curbs on pubs and restaurants.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will set out the plans in the Commons at about 11.30am but ministers have already warned that more areas will likely be in higher tiers compared to the regime before the lockdown.

The new arrangements will apply from December 2 after England’s blanket lockdown ends and restrictions have been tightened after Government scientific advisers warned that previous measures had not been effective enough.

Only a few of the least-affected areas are expected to be placed in Tier 1, where restrictions are limited.

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In this tier, the rule of six applies indoors and outdoors, people are urged to work from home if they can and pubs are limited to table service.

Large swathes of the country – including Essex – are expected to face Tier 2 restrictions with a ban on households mixing indoors and pubs, and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a “substantial meal”.

That will impact pubs which do not serve food. 

The restrictions are understood to be reviewed every two weeks. 

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Areas placed in Tier 3 will be offered support from NHS Test and Trace and the armed forces will deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme, making use of rapid lateral flow tests which give results within an hour.

Meanwhile, the number of recorded coronavirus cases in Essex increased by 366 over the last 24 hours, official figures show.

Public Health England figures show that 19,371 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Wednesday in Essex.

This was up from 19,005 the same time on Tuesday.

And in Southend, the number of recorded coronavirus cases rose by 27 over the last 24 hours.

Public Health England figures show that 2,318 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Wednesday in Southend, which was up from 2,291 the same time on Tuesday.

The rate of infection in Essex now stands at 1,301 cases per 100,000 people, while the rate of infection in Southend now stands at 1,266 cases per 100,000 people - both far lower than the England average of 2,382.

Essex and Southend's cases were among the 80,867 recorded across the East of England, a figure which rose by 1,187 over the period.