What happens now Sheffield is on the Government’s coronavirus watchlist?
Sheffield has been placed on the Government’s coronavirus watchlist – so what happens next?
While the city is listed as an ‘area of concern’, there will be no additional restrictions put in place by the Government.
Areas where the infection rate is highest are split into three categories by Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre: ‘areas of concern’, ‘areas of enhanced support’, and ‘areas of intervention’.
According to The Department of Health and Social Care, in ‘areas of concern’ local authorities will work with partners, supported by regional Public Health England and the NHS Test and Trace programme, to ‘take additional actions to manage outbreaks and reduce community spread of the virus to more normal levels’.
Actions taken may include more targeted testing in high-risk areas or groups – for example care homes – enhanced communications around the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene and other preventative measures, as well as research to understand where clusters of the virus are occurring so action can be taken.
Not every ‘area of concern’ is escalated to an ‘area of enhanced support’. On Friday, Kettering, Oadby and Wigston and Luton were removed from the watchlist. In July, Sheffield was identified as needing enhanced support but avoided a national intervention as the city's infection rate dropped.
If more support is needed, this could involve ‘widespread testing and detailed engagement with high-risk groups to help increase the effectiveness of testing and tracing’. National intervention could potentially involve restrictions on businesses such as pubs and bars, as well as social gatherings. Such restrictions remain in place in Manchester, while household mixing has now been restricted in Birmingham.