Is Leeds going into Tier 2 or staying in Tier 3? What we know about this week's lockdown review

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Leeds could be staying in Tier 3 or heading for Tier 2 lockdown restrictions when the Tier system is reviewed on Wednesday

Currently, Leeds is in Tier 3 lockdown restrictions, the highest possible restrictions which means that pubs and restaurants are not allowed to open their doors to customers and household mixing is banned.

A review is set for Wednesday, December 16, with any changes to Tiers for any area set to be announced before being put in place from Saturday, December 19.

What Tier is Leeds and West Yorkshire likely to be in?

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Leeds is in Tier 3 - could it move to Tier 2 in the next reviewLeeds is in Tier 3 - could it move to Tier 2 in the next review
Leeds is in Tier 3 - could it move to Tier 2 in the next review

Leeds is currently in Tier 3, but the city's case rates have plummeted in recent weeks. The current case rate is 142.6 cases per 100,000 people.

London currently has higher case rates than Leeds, but London was in Tier 2 and Leeds is in Tier 3.

Havering, which is in Tier 2, has 470.8 cases per 100,000 people. The overall London seven-day rate is 224.7.

London will move into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday as a result of soaring case rates.

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Is Leeds going to move into Tier 2?Is Leeds going to move into Tier 2?
Is Leeds going to move into Tier 2?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will set out the move, which is also expected to apply to parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, in a Commons statement.

One MP said they were told that cases are doubling every seven days in the capital.

However, there is a suggestion that, rather than move Leeds to Tier 2, the government could move London to Tier 3 and keep all of the north in the same Tier.

Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis said it is 'highly likely' that South Yorkshire will stay in Tier 3 - because of the lack of available hospital beds.

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He said: "Our NHS services remain under massive pressure. Over 600 people are currently in our region's hospitals with Covid, with more being admitted every single week."

Mr Jarvis went on to say that four out of the five indicators for switching Tier were 'not falling fast enough', despite Sheffield having a case rate of just 128 per 100,000 people.

So if Sheffield remains in Tier 3 with a case rate of 128, it seems highly unlikely that Leeds would move to Tier 2 when it has a higher case rate.

It is worth noting that Leeds Council is calling on the government to move West Yorkshire into Tier 2 in a bid to help boost struggling businesses.

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The government has usually, in the latest round of Tier changes, moved whole regions at a time between Tiers. So if the rates are still high in some parts of West Yorkshire it could keep Leeds from moving down to Tier 2 - as it seems unlikely that the government would want to split West Yorkshire and move parts of the region into Tier 2 and keep other areas in Tier 3.

All that being said, it seems more likely than not that Leeds will remain in Tier 3 going into Christmas. The next review is due two weeks later on December 30, so Leeds could move into Tier 2 for New Year if not before. But we won't know for certain until the government announcement on Wednesday.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock set out how London would have to move into Tier 3, the toughest restrictions, early due to rising infection.

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But Mr Hancock seemed to hint that Leeds could be going the other ways into Tier 2 after months of being at the sharp end of the rules, following local leaders declaring it would be safe to do so.

And he revealed a “test and dine” scheme was being trialled after being questioned by a Yorkshire Conservative MP.

What are the Tier restrictions based on?

The Department of Health said decisions on Tier levels are based on several factors, including case rates in all age groups and especially among the over 60s.

The final decisions will be made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Covid Operations Committee.

Five factors are considered:

– case detection rates in all age groups;

– case detection rates in the over-60s;

– the rate at which cases are rising or falling;

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– the positivity rate – the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken;

– pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.

What did Leeds Council say about moving Tiers?

Leeds Council Leader Judith Blake called for the government to move Leeds into Tier 2.

She said: "The decision about which tier Leeds falls in to is ultimately down to the Government and we will adhere to its guidance. We have submitted our view to Ministers and officials, published today in our Exec Board report, that due to falling infection rates and extensive plans and structures that are in place, we believe Leeds is in a position to safely enter Tier 2 next week. This is a finely balanced judgement, and there are different risks associated with Tier 2 and Tier 3, but we think the public in Leeds will respect the rules and play their part to help reduce the infection rate.

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“People across the city have helped to make vital progress against all five of the government’s criteria, including significantly reducing positive cases across all age groups, by more than 65% in the last four weeks. Likewise, infection rates among the over-60s has significantly reduced, and the percentage of positive test results has also fallen by 60% over the last four weeks. During the same period, the number of Covid patients in our hospital has reduced, although we are working across the partnership to reduce this further.

“We believe a move to Tier 2 at this stage would be a lifeline for many businesses, all of which have invested in Covid-secure premises and dealt with continued uncertainty for months. Fewer restrictions would also improve people’s mental health and wellbeing and ensure they continue to have faith in the tier system and comply with restrictions.

“It is imperative that we do everything we can to continue making the positive progress we have made so far no matter which tier we are in. Our message remains clear; in order to keep ourselves and each other safe, we must continue to follow all of the rules all of the time. Now is not the time to give up. The vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the fight is not over yet.”

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