UK officials to mull north England virus steps

LONDON (AP) — Health officials met yesterday to discuss whether to add areas of northern England, including Manchester and Lancashire, to the highest-risk tier, meaning additional anti-coronavirus measures such as closing establishments could soon be imposed there. Only Liverpool was placed in the highest-risk category when the plan was unveiled on Monday.

The discussions come as the regional government in Northern Ireland prepares to announce even tougher measures, including a two-week school closure. Northern Ireland has the highest infection rate among the United Kingdom’s (UK) four nations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being criticised by all sides two days after announcing his three-tier approach to controlling the virus.

A report released on Tuesday showed that the government’s science advisers have called for tougher measures, including a two- to three-week national lockdown. The opposition Labour Party has called for that advice to be followed, while members of Johnson’s Conservative Party said the measures already in place go too far and are damaging the economy.