"Armed Forces on standby" as South Yorkshire prepares for tier three restrictions

A South Yorkshire MP has said that the "armed forces are on standby to help if we need them", as South Yorkshire prepares to enter a Tier 3 lockdown.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 9:45 am

John Healey, Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne said: "MPs have strongly backed local leaders in pushing for support for businesses and extra cash for testing, and the Armed Forces are on stand-by to help if we need them.

“I know this news will come as a blow to many people in our area who have already sacrificed so much in fighting this virus.

"But cases are rising rapidly – including among older people – and we’re seeing intensive care beds filling up and more people dying. So we have to do more to help stop the spread.

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Shoppers wearing a face masks in Sheffield city centre, as South Yorkshire is the latest region to be placed into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, which will come into effect on Saturday.. 21st October 2020 Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

"In the discussions I had directly with the health secretary I wanted to make sure that the extra restrictions for South Yorkshire are targeted where there is evidence of outbreaks. This is why our gyms and bingo halls are staying open when they have closed in other areas with the highest alert level; and I’ve also argued hard for hairdressers and nail bars to continue working safely.

"But the government could go further. Nationally, Labour is continuing to argue that as we move towards a second lockdown the government has got to step up and support jobs, family incomes and businesses, as they did in March.”

The region is to move into the very high category under the government's new Coronavirus tier system.

The restrictions will come into force from one minute past midnight on Saturday October 24 and cover all four local authority areas in South Yorkshire – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

These stricter lockdown measures are due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases - Rotherham currently has 370 cases per 100,000 population, and Barnsley currently has 415 cases per 100,000 population, the highest in South Yorkshire.

A financial package of £41m has been announced for South Yorkshire, consisting of £30m to support the region's businesses and £11m for local authorities to finance public health measures such as contact tracing.

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