London: The British government carved England into three tiers of coronavirus risk in a bid to slow a resurgent outbreak, putting the northern city of Liverpool into the highest-risk category and shutting its pubs, gyms and betting shops.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the three-level national system was designed to simplify and standardize a confusing patchwork of local rules, as the country enters a crucial phase.
Boris said hospitals are now filling up with more COVID-19 patients than in March, when he ordered a national lockdown.
"These figures are flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet, and we must act now", he said during a televised news conference.
Boris told lawmakers that the goal of the new system was to save lives without shuttering our lives and our society through a new national lockdown. While the measures curb social interactions and the leisure industry, Boris said shops, schools and universities will remain open in all areas.
After falling during the summer, coronavirus cases are rising in the U.K as winter approaches, with northwest and northeast England seeing the steepest increases.
Liverpool has one of the country's most severe outbreaks, with about 600 cases per 100,000 people, even more than the hard-hit European cities of Madrid and Brussels.