Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will enter Tier 4 of the coronavirus restrictions - with the rest of Dorset moving into Tier 3.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave an update to the House of Commons following a review of the Tier system as cases rise across the country.

The changes will come into effect from Thursday, December 31. 

The whole of the county – both BCP and Dorset Council areas – had been in Tier 2 since the national lockdown ended on December 2.

Under the Tier 4 people are urged to “stay at home” with no household mixing.

People can meet one person from another household outside in a public space.

All non-essential shops and businesses must close including, personal care and indoor entertainment venues.

People are also not allowed to enter or leave Tier 4 areas and residents must not stay overnight away from home.

You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home, including if your job involves working in other people’s homes.

Neighbouring area the New Forest was moved to Tier 3 from Boxing Day with the rest of Hampshire placed into Tier 4 on the same day.

The New Forest will move into Tier 4 from December 31. 

An additional 20 million people will be in Tier 4 of the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions from December 31.

This means a total of 44 million people will now be in Tier 4, or 78% of the population of England.

Yesterday, the UK saw its highest number of daily cases with 53,000 new infections recorded.

In an update on Tuesday, local health authority Public Health Dorset said there had been a “significant increase” in both cases and rates across the county along with hospital admissions.

The latest data showed 865 new infections across the BCP area between December 17 and 23. The previous week 340 new cases were reported.

Meanwhile, the case rate per 100,000 for the conurbation rose from 86.0 to 218.8 during the same period.

In wider Dorset, 455 new cases were confirmed compared to 174 previously. The rate increased from 46.0 to 120.2.

Currently there are 134 Covid patients in hospital beds in Dorset, which is up from 98.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a total of 2,986 deaths registered in the week to December 18 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

This is up from 2,756 deaths in the week to December 11 – a jump of 8%.

The increase follows two weeks in which the number of deaths had fallen.

The ONS figures also show that 76,669 deaths involving Covid-19 had taken place in England and Wales up to December 18, with 454 occurring on November 18 – the “deadliest day” so far in the second wave of the virus.