The Covid hotspots that could go into highest tier when lockdown ends

ENGLAND'S second national Covid lockdown is due to end next month and the government will soon have to decide what further restrictions it will have to impose on local areas.

Experts have previously warned that the tier system would need to be "strengthened" if it was to be used again.

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The graphic above shows the previous lockdown tiers. It is not yet clear as to whether or not the new tiered system will be the same or if it will be altered.

The tier system had three set tiers, with Tier 3 being the most restrictive.

Areas such as Hull, Oldham, Newcastle and Leeds are all at risk of entering Tier 3 on December 2 as cases continue to climb in these areas.

Local leaders have warned that tough restrictions would have to be implemented to stop the spread – but which areas are set for Tier 3 next month?

East Yorkshire

Hull currently has the highest infection rate in the country with 760.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Julia Weldon, the director of public health at Hull City Council last warned that the region could be pushed into Tier 3 once lockdown ends.

Speaking to BBC Look North, she said that the levels seen in East Yorkshire, mean that the area will "definitely be" in Tier 3 when restrictions end.

She said that everyone needed to "play their part" in order to stop the spread of the virus, but gave some hope to residents when she claimed that restrictions would be lowered by Christmas.

This week it was also reported that 160 schools in Hull and East Yorkshire have reported cases of the virus.

In Hull alone, 57 of the 97 schools have been affected, figures from Hull City Council show.

Lancashire

Areas such as Blackburn with Darwen have long been considered as a Covid hotspot and the area is still in the top ten most infected places.

Blackburn with Darwen currently has 575.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Rates in other areas in Lancashire have also remained high.

Despite a drop in cases in the last week, Preston still has over 400 cases per 100,000 of the population.

The city currently has 443.6 cases per 100,000, down from the previous week's figure of 449.9.

At present, Lancaster has the lowest rate of infections in the region and has 141.1 cases per 100,000.

 

Greater Manchester

There are several boroughs in Greater Manchester that have high infection rates.

The area was forced into Tier 3 restrictions before the second national lockdown despite backlash from Andy Burnham.

Oldham is in the top ten of most infected places and currently has 568.5 cases per 100,000.

Mr Burnham said that there was a "strong chance" that the area could go back into Tier 3 restrictions next month.

The Manchester Mayor had previously come to loggerheads with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Mr Burnham refused to accept funding packages offered to him by the government in response to the area going into Tier 3.

The 10 areas in England with the highest infection rates

The ten place below have the highest infection rates per 100,000 people in England.

The data is from Public Heath England and account for the seven days up to November 13.

The number on the left is the current case levels and the number on the right is the case levels the previous week, in the seven days up to November 6.

Hull 760.6 (1976), 731.8 (1901)

Hartlepool 596.8 (559), 407.8 (382)

Swale 589.7 (885), 284.5 (427)

Blackburn with Darwen 575.2 (861), 705.4 (1056)

Oldham 568.5 (1348), 764.2 (1812)

Dudley 565.9 (1820), 452.1 (1454)

Stoke-on-Trent 557.8 (1430), 436.1 (1118)

East Lindsey 554.6 (786), 347.9 (493)

Kirklees 553.4 (2434), 571.9 (2515)

North East Lincolnshire 537.7 (858), 638.6 (1019)

West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire had been set to go into Tier 3 before the second national lockdown and some local areas are still battling with a surge in cases.

Kirklees is one of the areas that features in the top ten most infected places and currently has 553.4 cases per 100,000.

Bradford also has 532.3 infections per 100,000.

NHS data last week revealed that the area has the fourth highest bed occupancy in England.

North East

Before the second national lockdown, many areas in the North East had already been under Tier 3 restrictions.

Hartlepool is currently the second most infected place in the country and has 596.8 cases per 100,000.

Rates are rising in all of the 12 local areas in North-east England.

The highest rate in the region is Hartlepool.

This is also the biggest week-on-week rise for any area in the region.

Redcar and Cleveland currently has 498.0 cases per 100,000 and Middlesbrough has 499.4.

Northumberland has the lowest rate in the region and has 299.6 cases per 100,000.

'Christmas at risk'

Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to say whether the current lockdown restrictions would simply be "rebadged" as is feared – with Tier 3 or a possible Tier 4 mimicking a national lockdown.

Dr Susan Hopkins also warned a tougher tier system would likely replace national shutdown after December 2.

In a blow for indoor gatherings, she said that Tier 1 wasn't working – so stricter rules would have to be enforced.

It means households across face the prospect of being banned from mixing with others indoors in the weeks to come – which may put Christmas celebrations at risk.

Tier 1 rules – the lowest level of restrictions which are in place across the country – include the 10pm pub curfew and the rule of six.

It was suggested this may be scrapped or made even tougher if England emerges from the four-week shut down on December 2.

The next stage up is Tier 2, where people are banned from mixing indoors with people from other households.

Dr Hopkins said: "We see very little effect from Tier 1.

"When we look at what the Tiers may be in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone."

Tier 2 was only working in some areas – but Tier 3 was driving down cases in the North West, she said.

She suggested that "if the lockdown is working, we will start to see cases decline over the next week".

If it doesn't, then lifting the rules in full would be at risk, she added.

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