Cumbria’s health chief says he’s hopeful the county could go into tier one of the coronavirus restrictions by Christmas – if people continue to follow social distancing measures.
Colin Cox, the county’s director of public health, made the comments as the county moves into tier two regulations from today, following the month-long lockdown.
This means the county will continue to face a number of restrictions, such as a ban on people from different households mixing indoors, unless they are part of a ‘bubble’, though groups of up to six people can meet outdoors.
If the county went into tier one there would be less severe restrictions. For example, groups of up to six from different households could meet indoors and outdoors.
Venues serving food and drink would be able to open but time would will be called at 10pm – customers however will be allowed to stay until 11pm.
The Government’s REACT-1 Study, published this week has suggested that infection rates across England have fallen by a third, from 130 per 100,000 people to 96. Tier allocations will be reviewed every two weeks.
According to the study: “There was a decline of prevalence across all regions which was most evident in the North West and North East, where prevalence was reduced by over 50 per cent.”
Mr Cox said: “Rates of Covid-19 in Cumbria are currently falling significantly as a result of the national lockdown measures that have been in place for the last month, which is hugely encouraging news.
“At the moment our rates are still twice as high as they are in the areas that have been put into tier one, and it’s clear that rates need to be very low before it’s safe to go into tier one.
“If rates continue to fall the way they are, it is possible that Cumbria might be able to move into tier one when Government reviews the tiers in a fortnight.
“But this will only happen if people continue to observe good physical distancing even as we come out of lockdown. Let’s not lose the great progress we’ve made by letting things slip now.”