LIVERPOOL revellers packed the streets last night before Tier 3 lockdown hits today – as the city's intensive care units reach 90 per cent capacity.
Dozens of people swarmed the city centre and were filmed dancing in a huge group hours before they are plunged into the most severe restrictions.
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The number of people being admitted to hospitals in Liverpool are the third highest in Europe.
Councillor Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult health and social care at Liverpool City Council, said today intensive care units in the city are now at 90 per cent capacity.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Our intensive, critical care beds are filling up very fast.
"The most recent figures I've seen suggest they are over 90% full and our acute hospital trusts have occupancy levels of Covid-positive patients of over 250.
"At the current rate of increase, we would expect Liverpool to surpass the peak of the first wave probably within the next seven to 10 days."
This week Boris Johnson unveiled his three-tier local lockdowns — with Liverpool immediately hit with the highest restrictions.
The city has one of the worst infection rates in the country, with 669.5 cases per 100,000 people.
The restrictions will be in place for at least four weeks, when they will be up for review by the Government.
The tough new rules mean from today people in Liverpool and Merseyside won't be allowed to mix with other households anywhere indoors, or in private gardens.
TOUGH TIMES AHEAD
And pubs and bars will be closed, but restaurants will be allowed to stay open.
Pubs which serve "substantial" meals will be able to stay open. Betting shops, gyms and casinos will also be told to close.
No 10 last night said a “gold command” meeting will today be held to discuss if Greater Manchester and Lancashire should join Liverpool and be put on very high alert.
The change would put the two areas into Tier Three, which would see 3,100 pubs and 475 gyms shut their doors.
The PM was last night under increasing pressure to order a nationwide mini-lockdown – with a 60 per cent chance he will bring in the measure over half-term.
Growing demands for a “circuit breaker” to tackle surging Covid cases came as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a shutdown of up to three weeks.
The new local lockdown alert level rules:
- National 10pm curfew
- Rule of Six
- The measures in place in "medium"
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- People must follow the rule of six in gardens and outdoor areas
- People try reduce travel and cycle or walk where possible
- Pubs and bars must close but can remain open when serving a "substantial" meal such as lunch or dinner
- They can only serve alcohol when serving meal
- Wedding receptions are not allowed
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space.
- People should avoid travelling outside their area, and others should avoid travelling to "very high" risk places except for work, school, accessing youth services, caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
- People should not stay overnight in another area if they live in a "very high" area
- People who live elsewhere should not stay overnight in "very high" area
Scientists claim this could save thousands of lives, but Mr Johnson has so far rejected warnings from his medical advisers that a major reset is required.
But there is a growing belief in his inner circle that the move is inevitable.
Mr Johnson said on Monday the new rules were needed because "transmission is rising" and it is essential the NHS does not become overwhelmed to the point it cannot carry out other services.
If new restrictions are not brought in, Mr Johnson said: "Our doctors and nurses would be simply unable to devote themselves to other treatments for cancer and heart disease and hundreds more that have already, and would be delayed again.
"(This would cause) serious long term damage to the health of the nation."
The daily death toll rose above 100 for first time in four months yesterday — taking the total to 43,018.
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