Will Sheffield move down into Tier 2? Everything you need to know about this week's lockdown review
Sheffield could be moved down from the harshest lockdown restrictions and into Tier Two as the tier system is set to reviewed on Wednesday.
The city is currently subjected to Tier Three lockdown measures, which prevents pubs and restaurants from opening their doors to customers and households from mixing indoors or in private gardens.
Ministers will announce on Wednesday, December 16 whether sufficient work has been done by health bosses in Sheffield to control the spread of the virus and alleviate the strain on hospitals, to enable the city to move down into Tier Two.
The lockdown tier review will confirm which level of restrictions areas across the country are under, before they come into effect from Saturday, December 19.
What Tier is Sheffield and South Yorkshire likely to be in?
Sheffield is currently in Tier 3, alongside the whole of South Yorkshire however the average rate of coronavirus infections in the city has decreased dramatically in recent weeks.
The current case rate is 133.5 cases per 100,000 people, based on data from the seven days to December 8 – which is lower than both London, which is in Tier Two and Leeds, under Tier Three.
The capital has an overall seven-day rolling rate of approximately 224.7 cases per 100,000 people – considerably higher than Sheffield’s.
However, there is a suggestion that, rather than move Sheffield into lower restrictions in Tier 2, the government could move London to Tier 3 and keep all of the north in the same Tier to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis admitted it is 'highly likely' that South Yorkshire will stay in Tier 3 - because of the lack of available hospital beds across the region and cases not falling quickly enough.
He said: "Over 600 people are currently in our region’s hospitals with Covid, with more being admitted every single week.
"It is imperative that we avoid a devastating third wave in January and put more lives put at risk – just at the point that a vaccine is being rolled out.
"It’s likely, therefore, that the Government will decide to keep South Yorkshire in Tier 3 next week.”
The government has usually, in the latest round of Tier changes, moved whole regions at a time between Tiers.
So if the rates are still high in some parts of South Yorkshire, such as Doncaster which has an infection rate of 187.9, it could keep Sheffield from moving down to Tier 2 - as it seems unlikely that the government would want to split the region up and move different areas into Tier 2 and keep other areas in Tier 3.
The next review after ministers announce the decision on Wednesday, is due on December 30.
What are the Tier restrictions based on?
Decisions about what measures different areas are subjected to are based on five indicators according to the Department of Health.
Ministers analyse the following data:
– 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 – the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken
– pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.