Health boss reveals the one reason Sheffield is in Tier 3 with London in Tier 2

A Public Health England director has revealed why Sheffield has been plunged into Tier Three and London has not, despite falling infection rates.

Friday, 27th November 2020, 8:49 am
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 8:50 am

Professor Peter Kelly, a regional director for Public Health England has said the reason the capital will be under fewer restrictions in Tier Two than Sheffield is due to less pressure on the NHS.

It comes after the rate of Covid-19 infections in Sheffield has continued to fall with an average of 285.4 cases per 100,000 people in November 15, dropping to 223.6 cases in the week ending November 22.

The total number of virus cases and the rate of infection has steadily fallen across Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham as well, while the rate of new cases has risen in 10 London boroughs in the seven days to November 20.

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Sheffield will be under Tier Three restrictions from December 3.

He told Amy Garcia from BBC Look North last night (Thursday, November 26): "In London the decision makers decided that the average rate across all of London and the overall pattern across all of London, including issues such as pressures on the NHS in London merits London currently being in Tier Two.

"The NHS in Leeds and Sheffield and other parts of Yorkshire is under considerably more pressure right now than the NHS in London is."

Professor Kelly said the road-map to exit Tier Three is for the average rate of infections to continue to fall.

He added: "Well ultimately the route out of this for Yorkshire and for anywhere else is for the rate to continue to decline at the rate it’s at.

"We don’t want to raise hopes or expectations too much because it may well be to save the most lives we need longer in Tier Three.”

While the regional Public Health England director defended the government’s decision to allow up to three households to meet for five days over Christmas, he urged people to be cautious.

Professor Kelly said: "I think there is still guidance around that about three households mixing, there is still guidance about suitable ventilation.

"There’s still guidance about hand-washing and wearing masks where appropriate and social distancing.

"All those things remain in place.

"The most important thing to remember is, this virus spreads rapidly when people come together in large groups indoors and it isn’t going to change its behaviour, just because it’s Christmas.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.