Shocking images have emerged of carnage in Liverpool last night after huge crowds gathered and some revellers appeared to attack a police car before the city was moved onto the ‘very high’ coronavirus alert level from midnight.
Hundreds of pubs in the northwest will be closed for four weeks from 5pm today after Liverpool was moved straight into the top tier of local lockdown amid rising cases in the city.
Photographs showed party-goers making the most of their final hours in the pub and, as the clock struck 10pm revellers poured out into the streets, stopping for chips as they made their way home.
However, parties broke out with one rowdy street gathering seeing dozens of young people dancing close together.
More disturbing footage showed a large crowd blocking a police car in the city centre, before appearing to throw drinks at it while shouting abuse.
One witness said: ‘A large group of young partygoers who were defying every single social distancing rule imaginable attacked a police car on Concert Square.
‘This event had a particularly big impact on me because it made clear that this second lockdown that Liverpool will find itself in from tomorrow will have the potential to unleash a very dangerous wave of riots and uprising of people that don’t believe in coronavirus restrictions. This video might just be the start.’
Another picture of the crowds, posted to Snapchat, was captioned ‘Herd immunity here we come’.
Separate footage shows parties breaking out all over the city, including one house party where revellers can be seen drinking and dancing.
Reacting to the images, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, told Sky News: ‘I’m very saddened by it. It’s a city where I grew up, it’s a great city and of course the new rules are a big change for people but, frankly, I think it’s irresponsible. I think it’s disappointing and it’s gathering like that which unfortunately don’t help in any way to bring down the escalation of the virus.’
A police car is surrounded by revellers in Liverpool last night, with reports it was attacked during the incident on the night before strict coronavirus restrictions are introduced in the city
Footage appears to show revellers blocking the police car and hurling abuse and drinks at it as the officers try to drive past them
Revellers enjoy themselves in Liverpool city centre last night, with the police car in the background thought to be the one surrounded
Some revellers were a little worse for wear as they staggered home last night after enjoying one last night out before new coronavirus restrictions are introduced in Liverpool
Revellers in Liverpool city centre dance and party after leaving a pub at 10pm on the final night before tier 3 restrictions hit the city
Reacting to the images, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, told Sky News: ‘I’m very saddened by it’
Revellers at another illegal gathering in Liverpool last night ahead of the introduction of ‘very high alert’ coronavirus restrictions
Separate footage shows parties breaking out all over the city, including one house party where revellers can be seen drinking and dancing
A group of revellers enjoy boxes of chips as they head home on the night before restrictions force Liverpool’s pubs to close
From 5pm on Wednesday, hundreds of pubs in the northwest will be closed for four weeks after Liverpool was moved straight into the top tier of lockdown. Pictured, revellers in Liverpool
Staff remove an umbrella from outside a bar the night before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease
The manager of the Grapes pub in Liverpool, Karen Strickland, locks the doors behind her last customers of the night
Pubs’ lights were turned off as the clock struck 10pm and revellers were booted out into the cold October night in Liverpool
Crowds made their way home at the end of the final night before increased restrictions in Liverpool this evening
Staff at the Richmond pub in Liverpool bring in tables and chairs as they clear away after one final night of revelry
Drinkers out in Liverpool before Tier 3 restrictions close bars and pubs from tomorrow. Liverpool is the only area in the top bracket of lockdown measures so far, and the city is going further than the basic restrictions by closing leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos
Photographs showed party-goers making the most of their final hours in the pub before the city is plunged into lockdown to try to limit the spread of coronavirus
Merseyside Police said in a statement: ‘At 10pm tonight, Tuesday 13th October, officers were made aware of a large gathering of people in the Concert Square/Fleet Street area of Liverpool city centre.
‘Officers were deployed to the area immediately and a large crowd was dispersed quickly and safely. All businesses in the area have now closed and the incident has been stood down.’
According to the latest rules, locals will only be allowed out of their areas for essential travel such as for work, education or health, but they must return before the end of the day, with the country divided into ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ risk sectors.
If a business is closed due to third tier restrictions, the Government will pay two thirds of each employee’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month, according to The Telegraph.
For tier two, households will not be allowed to mix indoors, similar to restrictions already in place in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, while tier one will be similar to the rules currently in place across the country.
Liverpool is the only area in the top bracket of lockdown measures so far, and the city is going further than the basic restrictions by closing leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos.
Councillor Paul Brant, cabinet member for adult health and social care at Liverpool City Council, said intensive care in the city was now at 90% capacity as hospitals looked to deal with the second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Mr Brant 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.’
Addressing the intensive care situation, he added: ‘They are not all Covid patients, I should say, but they are running very full and they are running with an increasing number of people who are Covid-positive.’
He added: ‘It has become clear that the intensity of the demand on hospital services here in Liverpool is crowding out anything other than dealing with Covid.’
Data shows that Covid-19 infection rates at universities in hotspots like Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham are up to seven times higher than in the cities around them.
It comes after Number 10 was blasted for not ‘following the science’ after bombshell documents showed ministers shunned a number of recommendations by their expert advisers before unveiling the latest suite of lockdown measures.
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) put forward two dozen suggestions about how to navigate the country through a second wave of the pandemic in September – many of which fell on deaf ears.
Top of the list was a national ‘circuit-breaker’, which would’ve seen the country revert to a spring-level lockdown for about a month to bring the outbreak under control. But it was overruled by Boris Johnson amid fears it would ‘shatter’ the already wounded economy.
Three women in Liverpool the night before new measures across the region are set to come into force after the six boroughs in the Liverpool City Region were placed in Tier 3, the highest level, of the government’s new coronavirus warning system
People head home after pubs’ 10pm curfew saw venues close for the final time before a four-week lockdown in Liverpool
Revellers appeared to be in high spirits as they enjoyed a night of drinking in pubs in Liverpool. All bars in the city will have to close from tomorrow
Bars open their doors on the final night in Liverpool, north west England on October 13 before new local lockdown measures are imposed to help stem a second wave of the novel coronavirus COVID-19
Outdoor seating was left empty in the street beside Sweeney’s Bar in Liverpool as a rise in coronavirus cases in the city caused some to make the decision to stay away from venues
A packed heated outside area at a bar in Liverpool this evening. The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) put forward two dozen suggestions about how to navigate the country through a second wave of the pandemic in September – many of which fell on deaf ears
People enjoy their drinks in The Bridewell pub amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Liverpool
Bars opened their doors for the final night in Liverpool before a four-week shut down to try to stem the spread of the disease
Millions of people are covered by the two higher risk tiers in the government’s new system, with the rest of England under the Rule of Six and 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants
A news crew in a near deserted Matthews Street in Liverpool, the night before new measures across the region are set to come into force
A couple walks through Temple Court in Liverpool the night before new measures across the region are set to come into force
According to the latest rules, locals will only be allowed out of their areas for essential travel such as for work, education or health, but they must return before the end of the day, with the country divided into ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ risk sectors. Pictured, people walking past bars in Liverpool
Number 10 has repeatedly rolled out ministers to defend the lagging £12billion programme, which is still failing to find four in 10 people who are suspected of having the disease. Pictured, people out in Liverpool
Ministers also ignored warnings that the 10pm curfew would have ‘marginal impact’ and went ahead with the scheme anyway, angering hospitality bosses, local councillors and even their own backbenchers.
SAGE warned the Government’s beleaguered Test and Trace system was having ‘marginal impact on transmission at the moment’. They said the scheme will ‘further decline’ unless it grows at the same rate as the epidemic.
Number 10 has repeatedly rolled out ministers to defend the lagging £12billion programme, which is still failing to find four in 10 people who are suspected of having the disease.
The three files — released late last night — also revealed closing gyms and leisure centres would likely have ‘low to moderate’ impact on the spread of Covid-19 and risked harming people’s mental and physical health.
Data shows that Covid-19 infection rates at universities in hotspots like Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham are up to seven times higher than in the cities around them. Pictured, women out in Sheffield tonight
For tier two, households will not be allowed to mix indoors, similar to restrictions already in place in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, while tier one will be similar to the rules currently in place across the country. Pictured, people out in Liverpool
Bars in Liverpool with have to close down for four weeks to curb the spread of coronavirus in the city. Pictured, revellers enjoying a drink inside a bar
Liverpool’s bars and pubs will close at 10pm on Tuesday evening for the last time for four weeks after the Government unveiled its latest restrictions
SAGE warned the Government’s beleaguered Test and Trace system was having ‘marginal impact on transmission at the moment’. They said the scheme will ‘further decline’ unless it grows at the same rate as the epidemic. Pictured, a pub in Liverpool on Tuesday evening
SAGE told the Government on September 21 that a complete three-week shut down could reset the virus’s trajectory, bring the reproduction ‘R’ rate below the dreaded level of one and give the country breathing room heading into winter. Pictured, a pub in Liverpool
Yet the Prime Minister announced yesterday that they would be shut in ‘Tier Three’ lockdown areas with highest infection rates, putting thousands of jobs in jeopardy.
The group warned in the September papers that hospital admissions for Covid-19 could reach levels seen in darkest days of the crisis in spring, when 3,000 a day were admitted, by the end of October if lockdown-tightening measures were not introduced. At the time the files were published, the spread of the virus was doubling every fortnight.
SAGE told the Government on September 21 that a complete three-week shut down could reset the virus’s trajectory, bring the reproduction ‘R’ rate below the dreaded level of one and give the country breathing room heading into winter.
The experts on the same day said alcohol’s effect on behaviour and the tendency for pub-goers to shout meant bars were likely breeding grounds for the virus. They endorsed the idea of shutting them entirely, which they say would bring the R down by 0.1 and 0.2. But they warned a curfew would only have a ‘marginal impact’.
Yet, in a sign of the growing rift between the Government and its scientists, just a day later Mr Johnson used a Downing Street press conference to introduce the controversial curfew. It is just one example of ministers ignoring ‘the science’.
How England breaks down in new COVID tiers
TIER THREE – VERY HIGH RISK
Liverpool City Region
Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Halton
TIER TWO – HIGH RISK
Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East
Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham,
High Peak – the wards of Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John’s – Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South, Hadfield North
Lancashire, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley
Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield South
Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, Sheffield
Newcastle, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham, Northumberland
Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool
Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Walsall
Leicester, Oadby and Wigston
Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City
TIER ONE – MEDIUM RISK
Rest of England
Proffessor Whitty said he was ‘not confident’ the new measures would stem the tide, as the UK racked up another 13,972 Covid cases on Monday – up 11 percent on last Monday.
Prof Whitty added: ‘The idea that we can do this without causing harm is an illusion. It is a balancing act between two harms: a harm for society and the economy on the one hand and a harm for health on the other hand.’
Mr Johnson, addressing the nation alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Prof Whitty, said the other options were to ‘let the virus rip’ or ‘shatter’ the economy.
A vast swathe of the country including Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and the North East are facing Tier Two curbs which crackdown on socialising between households and a total of 22 million in England are expected to be covered by the top two tiers from tomorrow.
Mr Johnson said that the rising figures in these areas were ‘flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet and we must act now,’ but he ruled out the ‘extreme route’ of a complete national lockdown.
But Prof Whitty hinted at disquiet within the scientific community at the chances of the measures working.
‘I am very confident the measures currently in place are helping to slow the virus and these measures will help to slow it further,’ he said.
‘I am not confident and nor is anyone confident that the Tier Three proposals for the highest rates, if we did the absolute base case and nothing more, would be enough to get on top of it.
‘And that is why there’s a lot of flexibility in the Tier Three level for local authorities, guided by their directors of public health, to go up that range so they can do significantly more than the absolute base.
‘The base will not be sufficient. I think that is clearly the professional view… but there are additional things that can be done within that guidance.’
John Edmunds, a member of SAGE, spoke to Radio 4 shortly the meeting on September 21.
He said at the time: ‘I think we have to put stringent measures in place.
Britons say Boris Johnson’s ‘Three Tier’ local lockdown is NOT enough to control coronavirus
A snap YouGov poll found 40 per cent want tougher measures than the PM unveiled yesterday, compared to just 19 per cent who thought he has struck the right balance
Britons do not believe Boris Johnson‘s new ‘Three Tier’ lockdown goes far enough despite millions facing tougher curbs.
A snap YouGov poll found 40 per cent want tougher measures than the PM unveiled yesterday, compared to just 19 per cent who thought he has struck the right balance.
Another 15 per cent say the crackdown is too harsh.
Alarmingly for Downing Street, the public appears to have little faith in the government’s handling of the crisis, with 64 per cent complaining that there is no clear plan. Just 20 per cent had confidence in Mr Johnson’s strategy.
The finding held true even among Tory voters, with 45 per cent saying the premier does not have plan, while 37 per cent were supportive.
The research was carried out largely before the extraordinary split emerged between ministers and SAGE experts over the scale of action needed to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes despite warnings that a draconian lockdown could devastate the economy, leaving millions unemployed and those still in work facing soaring tax bills.
‘And it’s really important that we put them in place as fast as possible, because if we don’t then the epidemic doubles, and then it doubles again, and then it doubles again, and so on until we do put the stringent measures in place.
‘And I think, I suspect, we will see very stringent measures coming in place throughout the UK at some point, but it will be too late again.’
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the revelations in the SAGE paper were ‘alarming’.
‘The fact that the Prime Minister chose to publish it an hour after his press conference is yet more evidence that he is treating the British people with contempt,’ he said.
‘Labour warned earlier that the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister may not be sufficient.
‘The Government now needs to urgently explain why it ignored its own scientists and what it will be doing to get control of the virus.’
Mr Jenrick said this had included introducing the rule of six and 10pm curfews for pubs and restaurants but that the Government had also taken a ‘balanced ‘ approach to the situation.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had suggested immediately introducing a national lockdown lasting between two and three weeks to halt the rapid spread of the virus.
In a round of broadcast interviews, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick insisted the government was ‘certainly’ listening to scientists and had taken ‘robust’ action.
‘We listened to that advice as we always do and we did take action but these are balanced judgments,’ he told BBC Breakfast.
‘We also have to balance that up against the effect on the economy, people’s jobs and livelihoods, on education which we have made a priority and all the other unintended consequences of taking action, whether that is on people’s mental health, on other illnesses and elective surgery that might be delayed or cancelled as a result of that.
‘We took a balanced view as to what was required at that moment and that’s the way we will continue to behave.’
From Wednesday at 5pm, people in Tier Three Liverpool will only be allowed out of the area for essential travel such as for work, education or health, and must return before the end of the day – although the rules will be guidance rather than legally enforced. They cannot mix with other households in gardens, but can in outdoor public spaces subject to the Rule of Six.
Restaurants will be allowed to open, but only in line with the national curfew, and can serve alcohol as long as someone is having a ‘substantial’ meal, according to No10. Sources insisted that could not merely be a snack like a packet of crisps.
Where businesses are forced to shut, the Government will pay two thirds of each employee’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. There is expected to be a £28million package to help parts of the country classed as Tier Three, with Mr Johnson saying the total support on offer would be around £1billion.
Liverpool is the only area in the top bracket so far, and the city is going further than the basic restrictions by closing leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos. Mr Johnson hinted that other hotspots were resisting, swiping that failing to agree to crackdowns would be ‘unforgivable’.
Tier Two includes Greater Manchester, which was saved from the highest curbs after frantic lobbying from mayor Andy Burnham and local MPs, as well as the North East, the West Midlands, Nottingham and Leicester.
London is not expected to be in Tier Two immediately, but spokeswoman for Sadiq Khan warned that could happen ‘this week’ after a conference call with borough leaders. Londoners should understand that this could change very quickly – potentially even this week.
Some places, such as Oldham and Warrington, will actually see their restrictions loosened, as households cannot currently mix in gardens.
Mr Johnson made clear that he is not considering a full lockdown at this stage – and held out hope that Christmas could still be saved if people follow the rules.
‘I think many people would think that was extreme and would do a great deal of extra harm to our economy,’ he said.
‘We don’t want to go down that extreme route right now.’
Mr Johnson said he could not support the other side of the argument, of not having measures to stop the virus, as ‘all the maths is brutal, it would lead to too many fatalities’.
He said: ‘We’ll do our absolute best to try to make sure we can get life back to as close to normal as possible for Christmas.
‘But that is going to depend, I’m afraid, on our success in getting this virus down and our ability as a country to follow through on the package of measures.’
Mr Johnson listed advice and rules around social distancing and testing.
‘All that basic stuff is essential if we’re going to come out of this and allow people to have anything like a normal Christmas,’ he added.
In a barely-veiled threat to local leaders holding out against crackdowns, Mr Johnson said: ‘We stand ready to work with local government at all levels but clearly as national Government we have to think about our primary duty, which is to save life and to protect the NHS and we will also do whatever we think is necessary over the next few days and weeks.’