At the end of the second national lockdown on December 2nd, England will have a stricter system, with 99% of the country classified in the top two levels of restrictions.
But when are the restrictions checked and what is taken into account when deciding on the level of an area?
– How many people have to face strict restrictions?
More than 55 million people will be enrolled in Tier 2 and Tier 3 measures on December 2nd, meaning indoor mixing is effectively banned for the vast majority of the country.
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which make up just over 1% of the UK population, face the lightest Tier 1 coronavirus restrictions.
Large parts of the Midlands, Northeast and Northwest are in the most restrictive Level 3, which makes up 41.5% of the population or 23.3 million people.
The majority of authorities – including London – will be in Tier 2, which will cover 57.3% of the country or 32 million people.
– What are the key indicators that primarily determine the constraints in each area?
Five factors are considered:
– case detection rates in all age groups;
– case detection rates in those over 60;
– the rate at which cases rise or fall;
– the positivity rate – the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of the tests performed;
– and pressure on the NHS, including current and planned occupancy.
Downing Street has refused to provide any further details about the indicators or estimates of the thresholds.
– Why are there no rigid threshold values?
The government has said it needs to remain flexible in balancing the indicators against each other – for example, whether hospital capacity is lower in neighboring areas.
Another example in the coronavirus winter plan is that the detection rates of cases would need to be weighed as to whether the spread of the virus is restricted to certain communities.
The plan states: “Given these sensitivities, it is not possible to set rigid threshold values for these indicators, as this would lead to poorer quality decisions.”
– When can changes be made to the tier system?
The first level review is scheduled for December 16.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a meeting on Downing Street that the allocation of tiers would be revised every 14 days from that date and suggested that mass testing could exempt households from restrictions.
He said, “Testing on this scale has not yet been tried, but in due course, if it works and people test negative, families and communities may also be able to be exempted from certain restrictions, even if their home area remains in Tier 3. ”
Former Secretary Tobias Ellwood said the government should use updated data to make its decisions about the new restrictions. He noted that the information used to classify different areas into a plane would be more than a week old at the time of its imposition.
He also called for the criteria and justifications for the animal system to be established so that people can “better understand” what it takes to get out of a tougher animal.
He told BBC Breakfast on Friday, “I think clarity in communication is so important at this point.”
– What are the chances that regions will get out of a strict restriction level by Christmas?
Community Secretary Robert Jenrick insists that “every reason” is to be expected that some areas could be moved to a lower level on December 16.
He said the government, on the advice of the experts, would review each area of local government to see if there was any potential for movement.
He told Sky News, “There have been a number of places where the judgments were fairly balanced, with them being at different levels. These are the places where they are more likely to be in that position. “
In contrast, Sage, Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, warned “this is a fairly early time to see how this has played out”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “I can’t imagine there will be any big changes at this point just because I don’t think we’ll have a lot of data by then.”