Local action is vital to our strategy of suppressing the virus, while protecting the economy, education and the NHS, until a vaccine can make us safe. Help is on its way thanks to the rollout of a safe and effective vaccine, but we are not there yet.
While we have moved to a localised approach through the tiers system, we have been clear that these must be tough, recognising that case rates are rising in many areas of the country, and our knowledge that the winter months are the most challenging for our NHS.
We have assessed each area individually, and as Mondays decisions on Essex and todays decisions on Waverley and parts of Hampshire show, we are prepared to move at a more localised level where the data and human geographies permit.
As set out in the COVID-19 winter plan, there are 5 indicators which guide our decisions for any given area, alongside consideration of human geographies like travel patterns.
- case detection rates in all age groups
- case detection rates in the over 60s
- the rate at which cases are rising or falling
- positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
- pressure on the NHS
While each metric is important in its own right, the interplay between each indicator for a given area is equally important, so a hard and fast numerical threshold on each metric is not appropriate.These are not easy decisions, but they have been made according to the best clinical advice, and the best possible data from the JBC.
The regulations will require the government to review the allocations at least every 14 days. We will also take urgent action when the data suggests it is required, as we did on Monday.
The first formal review took place yesterday, and the allocations and a detailed rationale is published below. I will also deposit the data packs used to inform these decisions in the libraries of both Houses.
These changes will be implemented from 00:01 on 19 December. This list will also be published on GOV.UK and a postcode checker will be available for the public to check what rules apply in their local area.
Area allocation tables
At the end of national restrictions case rates across England were falling. However, the most recent data now indicates that case rates are now stabilising or increasing across a large number of areas. Case rates in areas of northern England, which have previously been declining from very high levels are now flattening. There is a worsening and concerning epidemiological picture in London and parts of the South East and East of England.
We should not underestimate the challenge of the weeks ahead. Winter also brings additional challenges rates are higher than they were in the summer, the colder season increases the transmission risk (people are more likely to be inside), the risk from other respiratory diseases is higher and pressures on the NHS are therefore inherently greater.
De-escalating areas now will likely lead to rising case numbers, and risks areas being rapidly re-escalated in December or in the new year. As a result a cautious public health approach has been adopted.
|Cheshire and Warrington
Tier 2 (High)
|Since the end of national restrictions cases of the virus in Cheshire and Warrington have remained stable. Current case rates are broadly stable across Cheshire and Warrington though case rates in over 60s are increasing. Case rates remain greater than 100 per 100,000 in Warrington and Chester West and Chester. The epidemiology indicators remain too high for allocation to Tier 1, but do not justify inclusion at Tier 3.
COVID admissions in the Cheshire and Warrington area have reduced since the last review. The daily COVID bed occupancy is below the national acute hospital average and stable.
Tier 2 (High)
|Since the end of national restrictions the situation in Cumbria has deteriorated from a relatively low numbers of cases. Case rates are broadly increasing across the region and have increased by more than 20% over the last 7 days in Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Carlisle and Eden. The epidemiology indicators remain too high for the area to be allocated to Tier 1, and while there is an upwards trajectory on some indicators in Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Carlisle and Eden, it does not currently justify inclusion in Tier 3.
COVID admissions, bed occupancy and critical care bed occupancy in the Cumbria and North East area are stable. In the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria STP there has been a slow increase in COVID admissions over the last 14 days. The daily COVID bed occupancy is above the national acute hospital average and continues to rise.
Tier 3 (Very High)
|Since the end of national restrictions the situation in Greater Manchester has remained stable. Case rates remain greater than 150 per 100,000 in Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan. Case rates in over 60s are decreasing across the majority of the area but are above 150 per 100,000 in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale. Case rates are lowest in Tameside, Trafford and Stockport but the most recent data indicates that case rates are now plateauing or increasing, therefore any de-escalation of these areas would likely lead to cases increasing, particularly given the interconnectedness of these areas with the rest of Greater Manchester. Positivity remains high across the area but is falling. The epidemiology indicators remain too high for de-escalation to Tier 2.
COVID admissions in the Greater Manchester declining. Bed occupancy in line with the national average and critical care bed occupancy is not rising but remains high.
Tier 3 (Very High)
|Since the end of national restrictions there is a mixed, concerning picture across Lancashire. While case rates have now stabilised they are increasing in some areas in the most recent data that is subject to upward revision. The local authorities with the highest case rates are those located in the east of Lancashire that neighbour the north of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire (Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, Rossendale, Chorley). Case rates in over 60s are increasing in several areas and remain above 150 per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Burnley, Chorley, Preston, Ribble Valley, South Ribble, Hyndburn and Wyre. Lancaster and Fylde have the lowest case rates in the area at 98 and 93 per 100,000, respectively. Case rates for these two local authorities have decreased but the trajectory based on the latest data indicates that case rates are now starting to stabilise or increase, therefore any de-escalation of these areas would likely lead to cases increasing. The epidemiology indicators remain too high for de-escalation to Tier 2, as it could lead to rising case numbers.
The local NHS has seen a slow increase in COVID admissions over the last 14 days. The daily COVID hospital bed occupancy is above the national average and continues to rise.
|Liverpool City Region
Tier 2 (High)
|Since the end of national restrictions the situation in Liverpool City Region has broadly improved. Case rates have decreased and are stable, including in the most recent data in all local authorities apart from the Wirral where a small increase is seen. Case rates remain greater than 100 per 100,000 in Halton, Knowsley and St Helens. Case rates in over 60s are increasing in Halton and Knowsley. The epidemiology indicators are too high for the area to move down to Tier 1 but the trajectory does currently not warrant inclusion in Tier 3.
COVID admissions in the Cheshire and Merseyside STP are reducing. The daily COVID bed occupancy is below the national acute hospital average and stable.
|North East 7 (LA7)
Tier 3 (Very High)
|Since the end of national restrictions, the overall picture in the North East 7 has remained stable and case rates are broadly decreasing in Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. However, case rates are high and continuing to rise in South Tyneside which has the highest case rate in the area (272 per 100,000) and is seeing a deterioration across all epidemiology indicators. Case rates is lowest in Gateshead (94 per 100,000) however the trajectory of some neighbouring local authorities is concerning, with increasing case rates, therefore de-escalation of this area would likely lead to cases further increasing, part
Ministerial Departmental News