New ‘traffic-light’ lockdown system that will send automatic alerts to phones is set to be used to trigger local restrictions
- Local cases will be used to split parts of the country into one of three categories
- These will then determine the restrictions in place in each region under the plan
- This new traffic light system will work in tandem with the NHS Test and Trace app
- People will get messages when lockdown conditions change with infection rate
A traffic light system that will send automatic alerts to people’s mobiles is set to be used to trigger local lockdowns.
Local infection rates will be used to split parts of the country into one of three categories that will determine the restrictions in place in the region under the plan.
This system will work in tandem with the NHS Test and Trace app, which includes a feature where users can scan a barcode to check in and out of bars and restaurants.
Users will also be sent messages when lockdown conditions change due to shifts in the infection rate, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The new plan was approved at a meeting of key cabinet ministers last week and is now waiting for the Prime Minister’s approval.
It is hoped that the system will work alongside the new raft of restrictions announced by Boris Johnson on Tuesday, if he signs off on it.
A three-tier system is seen as being clear and provide a simple way for people to know what they can and cannot do in their areas.
Greater Manchester already has different boroughs under different restrictions and some locals have said it is difficult to know what rules do and do not apply in their area.
Mr Johnson pointed to a greater use of localised restrictions when he told the House of Commons: ‘One of the great advantages of NHS Test and Trace… is that we now have the ability to see in granular detail where the epidemic is breaking out and exactly which groups are being infected.’
The new plan was approved at a meeting of key cabinet ministers last week and is now waiting for the Prime Minister’s (pictured on Wednesday) approval
He also said: ‘Test and Trace enables us to isolate the cases of the virus in ever greater detail, which we were not able to do before.
‘There would be far more damage to the economy throughout our country if we failed to control the virus now and we were obliged to put in seriously damaging lockdown measures that really affected every business in the country.’
It is hoped a three-tier system could allow parts of the country to reopen their economies if infections are low and it could help assuage the concerns of some Tory MPs who are opposing new restrictions.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Housing and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick are understood to back the new system.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured on Wednesday) and Housing and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick are understood to back the new system
A Cabinet minister told the Daily Telegraph: ‘At the moment there is a range of different measures being applied in different places.
‘A three-tiered approach that is more consistent across the country will set out the steps we will take as the ‘R’ rate increases.
‘The virtue is that it gives greater clarity and consistency. What is in the tiers is subject to further discussion.’
But it is not certain that it will be introduced, with a source telling the Telegraph: ‘There is a proposal in the Whitehall system to look at a tiered approach.
‘It is in the system, it is being considered, but no decisions have been made and it has not been signed off yet.’