Can I see my family at Christmas? Covid rules for Leeds Tier 2 or Tier 3 lockdown - what we know so far

The leaders of councils across West Yorkshire are in discussions with government ministers about “worsening” Covid rates in the area - amid fears Leeds could be in Tier 3 over Christmas

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 4:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 4:18 pm
Warnings have been issued over people getting together as they normally would at Christmas

Here’s what we know so far:

Will lockdown Tier 2 or Tier 3 be in place at Christmas in Leeds? What happens if Leeds is in lockdown this Christmas?

Leeds is currently under the ‘High’ Tier 2 restrictions but Tier 3 is coming sooner rather than later according to reports.

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Discussions remain ongoing after leaders met with government ministers on Tuesday to discuss the rising infection rates in the area.

In a statement released on Tuesday night, the leaders said they met to discuss proposals to strengthen community engagement, test and trace and supporting the vulnerable “while protecting jobs and livelihoods”.

At the moment the restrictions in Leeds include:

- No household mixing indoors - that means homes AND pubs and restaurants. Any indoor setting.

- Mixing in gardens IS allowed as long as the rule of six is followed.

- Curfew in bars and pubs remains at 10pm

- Pubs, bars and restaurants to stay open

- Social distancing must be obeyed at all times

- The Rule of Six remains so that groups of people must not exceed six people in pubs, bars, restaurants and gardens

However a rise to a ‘Very High’ alert level and being placed in Tier 3 would see further restrictions including no household mixing indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens, pubs and bars not serving meals will be closed and guidance will be issued against travelling in and out of the area.

The current tiered lockdown restrictions are in place now to try to lower the rates before Christmas.

What do current rules say about going home for Christmas in Leeds?

At the moment the current Tier 2 and Tier 3 rules apply for Christmas, unless the government either relaxes the rules or ends the lockdown before Christmas Day.

Environment secretary George Eustice has warned people "may not be able to get together in the larger groups that they normally would".

However Eustice also added that it is too early to say exactly what the situation will be come Christmas and what people will or will not be able to do in different parts of the country.

Further, this week Professor John Edmunds, a member of the SAGE committee, said "radical action" would need to be taken to stop the rise in coronavirus cases.

He added that carrying on as we are and celebrating normally is “wishful thinking” in the extreme. Unless Covid rates change, there is no sign that limits on household mixing will be lifted in time for Christmas.

Downing Street has confirmed that it expects university students will be allowed to return home for Christmas, with education secretary Gavin Williamson assuring students that the government will work with universities to ensure they are supported to spend Christmas safely with their loved ones.

What are the current Covid rates in Leeds?

There has been a rapid rise in Covid admissions across Leeds hospitals and there are more Covid patients currently in Leeds Hospitals than at the peak of the pandemic.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said there are 263 patients currently in their beds who have tested positive for Covid - including 22 in intensive care.

Hospital said the pressure on beds has become "far greater than in the first wave".

The trust said they are "currently working very hard to ensure they treat as many patients as possible" - while ensuring they provide a safe hospital environment.

Covid patients are being treated separately to those who test negative, the trust said.

The number of people in critical care is expected to increase over the next 48 hours in the hospitals.

Covid patient numbers have increased from 148 on Tuesday Oct 20 to 263 on Oct 27.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the trust said: "Not only is the number of COVID cases increasing but so is the rate of increase.

"Local modelling based on prevalence data indicates that it may continue to rise for the next two weeks

"We are using evidence gained during the first wave of the pandemic to increase capacity on a planned and phased basis to deal with rising numbers of COVID patients.

"Our current overall bed occupancy is far greater than in the first wave so there is very significant pressure on our inpatient capacity."

The trust is standing down some planned operations due to current pressures in the hospital.

Some patients will have their treatment postponed, with only essential operations going ahead in most cases.

The trust said it is also offering daily flu vaccination clinics to protect the health of staff.