What tiers each North West area is likely to be in over Christmas

There are now 328,094 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the North West as each region awaits to hear confirmation of its tier status over Christmas.

In the last 24 hours another 1,596 people have tested positive for Covid-19, including 414 in Lancashire and 63 in Cumbria.

The latest Public Health England data released on Tuesday evening (December 15) shows that only Burnley has an infection rate in the top 50 England local authority areas.

The situation across the North West has continued to improve since the end of the second national lockdown on December 2 when one area – Hyndburn – was in the England top 10 while Oldham was in the top 20.

The Government will decide tomorrow which tiers Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire will be in over the next two weeks.

Most of North West has been in Tier 3, with some notable exceptions: the six local authorities within the Liverpool City Region; Warrington; Cheshire East; Cheshire West & Chester; and all the local authorities in the county of Cumbria. All of these have been in Tier 2.

Rates are up in just over half of all local areas in the region – 22 areas out of 39. Ribble Valley (Tier 3) has seen the biggest week-on-week jump while Pendle (also Tier 3) has seen the biggest fall.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce the results of the review on Thursday with any changes set to come into effect this Saturday – six days before Christmas Day.

You can get rolling updates of Lancashire and the North West’s tier review decision here

Lancashire’s public health boss has told the county’s council leaders that the region should remain in Tier 3 when the government reviews its Covid controls, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

It is understood that Dr Sakthi Karunanithi issued the advice at a meeting of local authority chiefs last Thursday – with the potential effect of the forthcoming relaxation of restrictions over Christmas being among his key concerns.

New figures have also emerged showing high Covid case rates within the over-60s population in Central Lancashire. Chorley, Preston and South Ribble currently have a greater proportion of residents testing positive in this age range than any other part of the county – while Lancashire as a whole is significantly above the national average.

The over-60s measure is one of the criteria on which the government will make its decision over which tiers are to be imposed on an area through until the new year.

Covid-related pressure on hospitals is another major ministerial consideration – with the number of coronavirus inpatients across the county remaining at about the same level as when the government decided to place Lancashire into Tier 3 late last month.

The LDRS understands that 13 out of Lancashire’s 15 council leaders nevertheless resolved to ask the government to consider moving some parts of the county down into Tier 2 if the epidemiological evidence should permit it at the time of the review. However, since last week’s meeting, the average case rate for the county has deteriorated slightly.

Infection rates are now rising in 11 out of 14 boroughs with some places now higher than before national lockdown ended two weeks ago.

It is understood that two district leaders wanted Lancashire to be treated uniformly across the board – with one calling for the entire region to move into Tier 2 and another for it to remain collectively in Tier 3.

The standalone council areas of Blackpool and Blackburn have their own separate directors of public health. Blackpool’s Dr. Arif Rajpura has called for the resort to be moved into Tier 2 while Blackburn with Darwen Council was approached for comment on its position.

Three weeks ago, Lancashire issued a similar plea to that agreed by most leaders in recent days – once again approved by a majority – for the government to introduce different regulations in districts with differing infection rates at the end of the national lockdown.

It appears that there may now be more flexibility on that front when the tiering system undergoes its first reassessment.

Cumbria will be hoping that some districts could fall into Tier 1 with Copeland’s infection rate now the lowest of all 315 local authority areas in England and all six areas well below the England average.

Liverpool City Region leaders say they are confident of retaining its Tier 2 status, having been the first region in the country to enter the highest level of measures back in October.

That’s because rates here have not surged here since rules were relaxed on December 2, with most boroughs experiencing a plateau in their numbers, or small rises.

Many senior Greater Manchester figures believe most if not all of their boroughs are likely to stay in Tier 3. Case numbers have fallen overall for some weeks fuelling hopes among some, particularly political leaders in Trafford, Stockport and Manchester, of an easing there this week to allow the reopening of restaurants and bars serving meals ahead of Christmas.

Coronavirus case numbers and infection rates are slowly rising in Cheshire East and West on the eve of the Government’s first tier review.

Both boroughs have been in Tier 2 for Covid-19 restrictions but could remain with infection rates only just above the 100 mark and well below the England average.

These are the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus by North West area as of Tuesday, December 15:

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 68274 cases in Lancashire, 16044 in Bolton, 10601 in Bury, 9898 in Cheshire East, 9849 in Cheshire West and Chester, 11166 in Cumbria, 5025 in Halton, 8121 in Knowsley, 25065 in Liverpool, 33119 in Manchester, 15640 in Oldham, 13636 in Rochdale, 14155 in Salford, 10940 in Sefton, 8101 in St Helens, 11204 in Stockport, 10927 in Tameside, 9202 in Trafford, 8839 in Warrington, 17794 in Wigan and 10494 in Wirral.

How does the Government decide which parts of the country go into Tier 2 or 3?

The Government has said it will consider five key factors when reviewing Lancashire’s county-wide Tier 3 lockdown on December 16.

They are:

  • Case detection rates in all age groups
  • Case detection rates in the over-60s
  • The rate at which cases are rising or falling
  • The positivity rate – this is the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken
  • Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy

What the tiered system means for pubs and restaurants

In Tier 1 areas, pubs and restaurants are allowed to trade until 11pm, providing they are covid-secure. Last order are at 10pm and all venues must close an hour later.

In Tier 2 regions, “pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants”, the government said. This means they can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. The same curfew hours apply.

In Tier 3 areas, pubs and restaurants can only serve takeaways.

Face covering rules still apply. Everyone must wear a face shield, unless they are exempt.

What are the household rules in Tier 1 areas?

Those in medium risk areas must:

  • Follow the rule of six if meeting indoors or outdoors
  • Pubs and restaurants must close at 11pm

What are the household rules in Tier 2 areas?

  • No household mixing indoors
  • Rule of six applies outdoors
  • Pubs and restaurants must close at 11pm

What are the household rules in Tier 3 areas?

  • Rule of six applies in outdoor public spaces such as parks
  • Pubs and bars must close
  • People advised not to travel out of the area

Find out how Covid-19 is affecting where you live by adding your postcode.

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