UK chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed that the government will "seek to exit” into the tiered approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic after England ends its second lockdown on 2 December.
Sunak said in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "peak of mortality is higher" than the first wave of coronavirus and the "NHS would be overwhelmed" if the government hadn’t imposed new restrictions.
“Our hope and expectation is, on the basis of everything we know today, that these measures will be sufficient to bring the R rate to where we need it to be. And, therefore, we can exit back into the tiered approach,” he said.
WATCH: An explainer on UK tiers
Over the weekend, the total number of coronavirus cases in the UK since the pandemic began went over one million, and the government announced that England will be placed under a one-month lockdown, ending on 2 December, to curtail a second wave of COVID-19.
Under the new measures, non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close, and travel will be under new restrictions. However, schools and colleges will be allowed to stay open.
The government has also extended its furlough scheme.
Sunak said in the Radio 4 interview: "For the self-employed, coming on top of our comprehensive and generous set of support that we have already put in place… we have announced extensions to our self-employed grants.
"And what we have done, typically, during this crisis, is adjust the value of the grants, as we have adjusted the value of the support to those who are employed."
In the UK, the unemployment rate surged to its highest level in over three years. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the unemployment rate grew to 4.5% in the three months to August, compared with 4.1% in the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) said in a report last month UK employers are expected to slash 1.5 million jobs by Christmas.
WATCH: England’s lockdown may last beyond December 2