Another 2,144 people across the North West have contracted coronavirus in the last 24 hours as a decision on each regions’ tier status over Christmas is now expected on Thursday (December 17).
A total of 330,238 cases have been confirmed in Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire since the start of the pandemic, howver most of these will no longer be active infections.
The new daily figure is up by nearly one third from the 1,596 cases recorded across the North West yesterday.
Public Health England’s latest infection rate figures show that Burnley continues to be the only region in the North West with an infection rate in the England top 50.
Government officials have today (Wednesday) been deciding what tier restrictions millions of people in the region will be living under over Christmas.
An announcement had be expected to be made this evening, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed in a press conference earlier that it will now be made tomorrow.
Matt Hancock is expected to make the announcement in a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, possible around 11.30am as in previous similar updates.
If any parts of the North West move up to Tier 3 or down to Tier 1 or 2, the new rules will come into force from 12.01am on Saturday (December 19).
The five criteria the Government will use to make the decision are
- Analysis of cases across all age groups
- Analysis of cases specifically among the over-60s
- Rate by which cases are rising or falling
- Percentage of those tested in local populations who are found to have Covid (e.g. cases per 100,000)
- Current and projected pressures on the NHS
It is expected that Lancashire and Greater Manchester will remain in Tier 3 while Cumbria, the Liverpool City Region and Cheshire will stay in Tier 2.
The leader of Preston City Council said he believes Lancashire will stay in Tier 3.
However Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says the region now has a ‘clear case’ for being moved down to Tier 2 with the region now having lower infection rates than both Liverpool and London when they were put in Tier 2 after the national lockdown.
Tier 3 restrictions force hospitality businesses to stay closed, aside from takeaway and deliveries, while Tier 2 would allow them to open up and serve alcohol alongside substantial meals.
These are the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus by North West area as of Wednesday, December 16:
The data below includes the total number of cases and overall infection rate for each area since the pandemic began. Many of these cases will no longer be active.
There are 68850 cases in Lancashire, 16126 in Bolton, 10670 in Bury, 10012 in Cheshire East, 9970 in Cheshire West and Chester, 11276 in Cumbria, 5067 in Halton, 8172 in Knowsley, 25170 in Liverpool, 33279 in Manchester, 15728 in Oldham, 13706 in Rochdale, 14227 in Salford, 11005 in Sefton, 8141 in St Helens, 11278 in Stockport, 10961 in Tameside, 9261 in Trafford, 8913 in Warrington, 17882 in Wigan and 10544 in Wirral.
People will be left to make their own judgments on whether Christmas celebrations are worth the risk, with warnings to avoid elderly relatives and a recommendation to isolate in the run-up to the festive period.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would be “inhuman” to ban Christmas entirely and confirmed the festive bubble policy allowing households to mix would remain in place despite warnings it will lead to more deaths.
But he said people should “think hard” about what they do and a “smaller Christmas is going to be a safer Christmas”.
The original UK-wide plans would have seen three households allowed to form a festive bubble between December 23 and 27.
But despite efforts to maintain a four-nations approach, Wales will legislate to restrict mixing to two households and all parts of the UK are issuing tougher guidance.
At a Downing Street press conference the Prime Minister:
– Stressed that the three households, five days provisions were “maximums, not a target to aim for”;
– Suggested that from Friday people mixing with others over Christmas should effectively isolate by reducing their contacts to the “lowest possible”;
– Said people should not travel from a high-prevalence to a low-prevalence area;
– Urged people to avoid staying away from home overnight where possible;
– Suggested people should avoid seeing elderly relatives until they have been vaccinated.
The Government said a further 612 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 65,520.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 81,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The Government said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 25,161 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,913,277.
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