Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic

Millions more entered tougher restrictions in the UK on Boxing Day
Millions more people have entered the highest level of coronavirus restrictions in England and Scotland, as Wales and Northern Ireland also introduced tougher measures from Boxing Day. 
Around 43 per cent of England are now in tier 4, including Oxfordshire, Sussex and Suffolk, after six million people were moved up a level on Saturday. 
Meanwhile, the whole of mainland Scotland was placed under the toughest level of restrictions in the country, forcing all non-essential retail and hospitality to close.
Tough new restrictions that were eased in Wales for Christmas Day were reimposed on Boxing Day, and a new six-week national lockdown started in Northern Ireland. 
The stricter measures face by millions come against the backdrop of a new more contagious variant spreading in the UK.
France has also detected its first case of this mutated version of coronavirus in a man who had travelled to the country from London in the days before Christmas. 

  • Millions enter tier 4 restrictions in England
  • Northern Ireland starts new six-week lockdown
  • France detects first case of new variant

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Wales returns to lockdown
Tough new restrictions that were eased in Wales for Christmas Day were reimposed on Saturday.
Find out more about the countrys national lockdown here:
Evidence suggests new coronavirus strain is present throughout Wales
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 10:00
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And in Scotland…
Coronavirus restrictions have also been increased in Scotland response to a new variant of the virus.
The mainland entered level 4 – the toughest tier – on Boxing Day, while the islands moved into level 3 of the five-tier system of restrictions. 
Under the highest tier, all non-essential retail and hospitality will be forced to close.
Additional reporting by PA
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 09:45
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What is happening in rest of England?
While even more areas have gone into tier 4, other parts of England have also moved up a tier level – but avoiding the toughest level of restrictions. 
Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire plus Cheshire and Warrington are moving up to Tier 3.
In the “very high” alert level, no household mixing is allowed indoors or outdoors, except in parks and public gardens. All hospitality is closed, except for takeaways and deliveries, and accommodation and entertainment venues must shut.
Cornwall and Herefordshire are moving up to Tier 2, where the main restrictions are no household mixing allowed indoors, but the “rule of six” applies outdoors. Hospitality venues must close unless serving substantial meals with drinks.
The Isles of Scilly is the only part of England staying in tier 1, as Rory Sullivan has reported:
Counties including Sussex and Oxfordshire will be escalated to tier 4 from Boxing Day
Additional reporting by Press Association
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 09:40
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Millions wake up on Boxing Day in tier 4
Six million more people are now living under tier 4 areas in England, after changes came into force on Boxing Day.
This means 24 million – or 43 per cent of the countrys population – are now under the toughest level of restrictions, where all non-essential shops and businesses must close, nobody can enter or leave the area and no household mixing is allowed – although one person can meet one other person outside in a public space.
New tier 4 areas include Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. 
Find out more in Andrew Woodcocks report after the changes were announced: 
Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Essex and most of Hampshire also join toughest tier on Boxing Day
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 09:19
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Good morning, and welcome to The Independents coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 09:09