Government graph reveals which areas are likely to move Covid lockdown tier soon

27 November 2020, 19:47 | Updated: 27 November 2020, 20:58

A graph reveals which areas are closest to moving to another tier level
A graph reveals which areas are closest to moving to another tier level. Picture: Joint Biosecurity Council
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A graph published by the Government shows how close each area in England is to moving up or down a coronavirus tier level.

It shows the rate at which areas either improved or worsened between November 12 and 19 - with most showing a significant reduction in cases per 100,000 people.

Infections sharply dropped in much of the north of England - including Teesside, Greater Manchester, and West Yorkshire.

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The document said that if there was "continued improvement" these Tier 3 areas could be "candidates for de-escalation" in early 2021.

It is not known whether this is still the case as ministers are put under increasing pressure to release some areas from tougher restrictions before Christmas.

Most notably, Kent was the only area to dramatically worsen in that week, jumping from an infection rate of around 230 to over 300.

The latest data from Kent's main NHS Trusts reports 367 Covid-19 patients in the county's seven main hospitals on 17 November - up from 40 a month before.

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Local leaders and MPs have expressed anger at the area jumping from Tier 1 pre-lockdown to Tier 3 - with many towns far below the national average infection rate.

LBC's Nick Ferrari challenged communities secretary Robert Jenrick about the dramatic change, highlighting that Tunbridge Wells in Kent has an infection rate of 117.9 compared to 342.9 in Havering, London, which will fall into Tier 2 restrictions.

Speaking on Friday morning Mr Jenrick said: "One of the things we've had to consider is whether or not to break up areas into very small units.

"We have assessed every part of the country individually but we've also looked at whether it's sensible to have one town in one tier and another town not so far away in another.

"When we've done that in the past we've learnt that very quickly the virus can just spread."

Read more: Sir Graham Brady warns of 'gross and obvious unfairness' under tier system

Read more: What are Tier 3 rules and restrictions and what areas are in it?

Boris Johnson on Friday defended the new coronavirus tier system, saying it was the only option for Government to avoid "loads and loads of complicated sub-divisions".

The Prime Minister said they were essential to get coronavirus down but acknowledged why people might be "frustrated" by the rules, particularly if they were in an area with low infection rates.