Tier 4 lockdown restrictions were expanded to six million more people in eastern and south eastern areas of England on Boxing Day. This means 24 million people are now under Tier 4 restrictions. But with the tier review due tomorrow, which areas are most at risk of moving up to Tier 5 given the latest coronavirus infection rates data?
A tier review is planned for tomorrow (Wednesday, December 30).
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced several areas would move into Tier 4 ahead of the second tier review this week.
He announced the following places would be plunged into Tier 4 on Boxing Day: Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, with the exception of the New Forest, and the parts of Essex and Surrey not already in the toughest restrictions.
With the new addition of six million more people, the total number of individuals in Tier 4 is now at 24 million, equating to 43 percent of England’s population.
A further 24.8 million people are now living in Tier 3 locations.
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Mr Hancock revealed two new Covid variants are causing the spike in infection rates.
England’s hospitals have revealed they are now dealing with more Covid-19 patients than during the first coronavirus lockdown.
Experts have warned tighter restrictions may be required to handle the new variants to the virus.
A senior Whitehall source warned England could see tighter restrictions in the coming days as cases continue to soar.
The insider said new measures could mean “adding another level onto Tier 4, so like a Tier 5.”
They told Express.co.uk: “We are ruling nothing out, the new strain is of serious concern. Tier 4 appears to not be strong enough.”
The tier review on December 30 comes as the UK saw its highest spike in Covid cases since the pandemic began.
On Monday, the UK confirmed 41,385 new cases of coronavirus.
The Government’s data also revealed 21,286 patients are currently in hospital and 616,933 people have received the first dose of the Covid vaccine.
These new cases of the virus are placing additional stress and strain on the overburdened NHS, particularly hospitals prompting experts to call for widespread or even nationwide Tier 4 restrictions – or higher.
Prof Hayward, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “I think we are entering a very dangerous new phase of the pandemic and we’re going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February.
“I think we’re really looking at a situation where we’re moving into near-lockdown, but we’ve got to learn the lessons from the first lockdown.”
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The app shows whether each area is at risk of moving tiers next week when the next review takes place.
The data compiled by the researchers behind the ZOE Covid Symptom Study provides details for the prevalence of coronavirus in each area of England.
According to the data, including data up to December 29, the following areas suggest the rate of infections is on the rise including:
- Greater Manchester – Currently Tier 3
- Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen – Currently Tier 3
- Tees Valley – Currently Tier 3
- York and North Yorkshire – Currently Tier 2
- The Humber – Currently Tier 3
- Northamptonshire – Currently Tier 2
- Leicester and Leicestershire – Currently Tier 3
- Birmingham and Black Country – Currently Tier 3
- Herefordshire – Currently Tier 1
- Worcestershire – Currently Tier 2
- London – Currently Tier 4
- Essex, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea – Currently Tier 2/4
- Hertfordshire – Currently Tier 4
- Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes – Currently Tier 4
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – Currently Tier 2/4
- Norfolk – Currently Tier 2
- Kent and Medway – Currently Tier 4
- Buckinghamshire – Currently Tier 4
- East and West Sussex, and Brighton and Hove – Currently Tier 2/4
- Surrey – Currently Tier 2
- Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton – Currently Tier 2/4
- Oxfordshire – Currently Tier 2
- Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset – Currently Tier 2
- Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – Currently Tier 2
- Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset – Currently Tier 2/3
- Cornwall and Isles of Scilly – Currently Tier 1
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The following Tier 4 areas show an increase in current prevalence rates of the virus over the past seven days to December 28 and therefore are potentially at risk of being moved into Tier 5 if the Whitehall source’s claims prove correct:
- London – Prevalence rate of 1,548 per 100,000
- Essex, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea – Prevalence rate of 1,185 per 100,000
- Hertfordshire – Prevalence rate of 791 per 100,000
- Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes – Prevalence rate of 738 per 100,000
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – Prevalence rate of 537 per 100,000
- Kent and Medway – Prevalence rate of 1,103 per 100,000
- Buckinghamshire – Prevalence rate of 764 per 100,000
- East and West Sussex, and Brighton and Hove – Prevalence rate of 658 per 100,000
- Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton – Prevalence rate of 470 per 100,000.