This will see 99 per cent of the country placed in the two highest levels of restrictions.
But when will the restrictions be reviewed and how have different tiers been decided on?
How many people are to face tough restrictions?
More than 55 million people will be placed into tier 2 and tier 3 measures on 2 December, meaning mixing between households indoors will effectively be banned for the vast majority of the country.
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – accounting for little more than 1 per cent of England’s population – face the lightest tier 1 coronavirus restrictions.
Large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive tier 3, which accounts for 41.5 per cent of the population, or 23.3 million people.
The majority of authorities – including London – will be in tier 2, which will cover 57.3 per cent of the country, or 32 million people.
What are the key indicators that will primarily determine the restrictions in each area?
Five factors are considered:
– case detection rates in all age groups;
– case detection rates in the over-60s;
– the rate at which cases are rising or falling;
– the positivity rate – the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken;
– Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.
Downing Street declined to give any further details on the indicators, nor any estimate of the thresholds.
But – in the face of a possible Tory revolt – Boris Johnson has now committed to publish more data and outline what circumstances need to change for an area to move down a tier, as well analysis of the health, economic and social impacts of the measures taken to suppress coronavirus.
Why are there not rigid thresholds?
The government has said it needs to maintain flexibility to weigh the indicators against each other – such as whether hospital capacity in neighbouring areas is lower.
Another example given in the coronavirus winter plan is that case detection rates would need to be weighed against whether the spread of the virus is localised to particular communities.
The plan states “given these sensitivities, it is not possible to set rigid thresholds for these indicators, as doing so would result in poorer quality decisions”.
Is there widespread support for the tier system?
A number of the PM’s Conservative colleagues have been openly critical of the three-tier system.
A crunch Commons vote on the measures on Tuesday could see MPs reject the plan.
Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said her party’s support was “not unconditional” and that it was seeking “clarity” about the tier system.
Without Labour backing – and if Mr Johnson suffers a major rebellion – the government could struggle to pass its motion on the tier system.