247 News Around The World
247 News Around The World

Only three local authorities in England saw their Covid-19 infection rates rise last week, official data showed as Boris Johnson yesterday warned almost every area will be plunged into Tier Two or Three lockdowns next week.

And more than half – 97 out of 149 – saw their numbers of Covid-19 cases plummet by more than 25 per cent, a major fall in infections, according to Public Health England’s weekly infection surveillance report published today.

Medway, East Sussex and Redbridge, in London, were the three authorities to see rises in Covid-19 infections, by 28.4 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, as lockdown restrictions entered their third week.

The Prime Minister is threatening to force 99 per cent of England’s population into the harshest measures under the re-vamped tier system when the shutdown ends on December 2. But there is mounting opposition from MPs from all sides, who say the way they were applied is ‘confusing’ and some boroughs should be spared from harsh county-wide rules.

Department of Health officials claim the percentage change in infection rates was used as a key criteria for determining the tiers, alongside pressure on the local NHS, total infection levels, cases in over 60s and proportion of tests that are positive for Covid-19.

But figures suggest ministers should have placed more local authorities into looser tiers because of rapidly tumbling infections in their areas.

Experts said they felt ministers had been ‘cautious’ in applying tiers because of an expected spike over Christmas but that, once the festive period was past, it was likely many areas would be moved to Tier Two.

It comes after the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick suggested this morning that local authorities could be shifted down to Tier Two before Christmas providing their case rates fell to low levels.

And showing the second wave has already peaked, the Cambridge team behind the gloomy 4,000 deaths-a-day estimate said that cases across England started declining last month.

COVID-19 CASES STARTED FALLING IN OCTOBER, SAY CAMBRIDGE SCIENTISTS 

Covid-19 cases started falling in the country as early as October before a second national lockdown was imposed, according to modelling by scientists at the University of Cambridge.

The number of new infections a day peaked on October 19, they claim, when it reached 48,500, but since declined to 41,200 by November 22.

Their estimate is based on the number of Covid-19 deaths recorded each day, alongside the number of people testing positive for antibodies against the virus. 

Department of Health data shows that the average number of cases a day peaked on November 16, at 25,331, and has since declined to an average of 17,329 by November 26.

The scientists – which manage the Nowcast and Forecast model – said the growth rate in cases for England has dipped to -0.01  a day, suggesting the second wave is in decline.

They also found that London had the highest rate of infection in the country, followed by the North West. The South West still had the lowest attack rate of infections.

Announcing the results the programme leader Professor Daniela de Angelis, a  biostatistician, said: ‘The pandemic is slowing down.

‘(The fall) likely results from a combination of the social restrictions introduced in October, the temporary decrease in activity over the half-term period, and the ongoing lockdown.

‘Disentangling the contribution of these factors is challenging.’

She added: ‘We remain concerned that R may not have fallen to a level sufficiently below 1, which strongly suggests that effective measures to control infection rates must continue to be in place after the end of the current lockdown period.’ 

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The largest drops in Covid-19 infections were recorded in Bracknell Forest, by 55.4 per cent to 60.4 cases per 100,000 people, Brighton and Hove, by 51.1 per cent to 76 per 100,000, and Torbay, by 47.1 per cent to 107.9 per 100,000, which are all set to enter Tier Two.

Of the three local authorities set to enter Tier One – Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly – the largest drop in infections was recorded in Cornwall, by 37.8 per cent to 54.7 per 100,000, placing it 27th on the league table of sharpest falls in infections.

As many as seven local authorities set to enter Tier Three – the harshest measures which also force restaurants to move to takeaway only – recorded a larger dip in infection rates than Cornwall.

Three local authorities in Greater Manchester – Salford, Stockport and Tameside – all recorded bigger drops than Cornwall, alongside Hartlepool, Hull, South Gloucestershire and Redcar and Cleveland.

Trafford saw a drop of 46.9 per cent to 164.3, while Salford saw it fall by 42.6 per cent to 243.4 and Stockport recorded a drop by 37.9 per cent to 198 per 100,000. Hartlepool recorded a fall by 41 per cent to 342.7 per 100,000, Hull saw it fall by 40.5 per cent to 445.4 per 100,000, South Gloucestershire saw a fall by 38.9 per cent to 208.4 per 100,000, and in Redcar and Cleveland it dropped by 40 per cent to 292.4 per 100,000.

Hull remained England’s Covid-19 hotspot for the second week in a row, according to the Public Health England data, recording 445.4 per 100,000. But this was a 40.5 per cent drop from the previous week’s 748 per 100,000.

Swale in Kent has also been identified as a hotspot by the Department of Health. But it is a borough of a county, meaning that in the Public Health England data it is grouped with its county, Kent, which has an overall infection rate at 260.6 per 100,000, the 41st highest level in the nation.

Medway had the second highest infection rate in England at 414.6 per 100,000. This was a 28.5 per cent rise from the previous week’s 322.7 per 100,000. It is set to enter Tier Three.

And Stoke-on-Trent had the third highest rate at 409.6 per 100,000, also a 25.8 per cent drop from 322.7 per 100,000 in the week before.

The lowest infection rate was recorded in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, at 54.7 per 100,000, and the Isle of Wight, at 58.6 per 100,000, which have both being placed in Tier One.

They were followed by Bracknell Forest, with 60.4 per 100,000, Dorset, with 63.1 per 100,000, and Brighton and Hove, with 76 per 100,000.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline he felt ministers had been on the ‘cautious side’ when implementing the tiers because of Christmas.

‘There will be an increase as we move up to Christmas almost inevitably,’ he said. ‘I strongly suspect what’s going to happen is we’ll have Christmas and then you’ll have to wait about three weeks afterwards before anything changes – but then I suspect we will start to see a relaxation’.

It can take up to two weeks for someone who has been infected with the virus to develop the tell-tale symptoms – a continuous cough, high temperature and loss of taste and smell – get tested, and then receive a positive result.

Government maps show that once sky-high infection rates in the North of England have tumbled during lockdown, as they have fallen in almost all areas of the country. Colour scheme shows a darker shade of blue to represent a higher rate of positive coronavirus cases per person

Government maps show that once sky-high infection rates in the North of England have tumbled during lockdown, as they have fallen in almost all areas of the country. Colour scheme shows a darker shade of blue to represent a higher rate of positive coronavirus cases per person

Government maps show that once sky-high infection rates in the North of England have tumbled during lockdown, as they have fallen in almost all areas of the country. Colour scheme shows a darker shade of blue to represent a higher rate of positive coronavirus cases per person

He added that large swathes of the North had been placed under Tier Three despite seeing ‘very nice declines’ in infections because they’ve ‘still got high levels of disease’. But, adding a ray of hope, he said they may well be moved down to Tier Two in January which would be ‘enough to stop cases from rising again’.

‘I think it is enough to control the epidemic in virtually all of the authorities but the old Tier Two would just about maintain the status quo – while not actually bringing down numbers where you’ve got high levels,’ he said. 

Professor Hunter said that although the percentage change in Covid-19 infections is a ‘very important’ measure for determining which tier a local authority will go into, it must be considered alongside others including pressure on NHS trusts and the total number of infections.

‘The R values and percentage change are actually mathematically very closely related,’ he said, ‘and so that is crucially important. But what is also important is the actual number of cases that you’ve got’.  

MPs from all parties have objected to how the restrictions were determined today with ex-minister Tobias Ellwood warning on BBC Breakfast: ‘My biggest gripe I think is the data we are using. They made a decision on November 25 using last week’s data for the vote that is going to happen next week.

‘I would really like the decisions to be made using up-to-date data a couple of days before these new restrictions come in.

‘I would also go further than that to say, I would have liked to have seen a blanket order across the country of a travel ban of maybe up to 10 to 15 miles so that areas that are in Tier One are better protected and areas that are in Tier Three can be better targeted with support.

‘The fact is people can still move around an awful lot and I’m afraid the virus has the ability to move.’

Conservative MP for  Ashford, in Kent, Damian Green said yesterday he was ‘hugely disappointed’ after the whole county was moved into Tier Three despite wildly different infection rates between boroughs. 

‘Before lockdown we were in Tier One, so what has lockdown achieved? We need the full analysis made public.,’ he wrote on Twitter. 

Under Tier Three restrictions – the harshest and to be imposed over swathes of the North of England, Bristol and Staffordshire – restaurants and pubs are forced to offer takeaway only and residents are banned from mixing with people from other households in order to drive down the infection rate.

Under Tier Two restaurants can re-open, but only to offer ‘substantial meals’, meaning many may stay away from their local food outlets and some bars and pubs will also be forced to shutter.

But in Tier One most freedoms are restored, with only the Rule of Six, 10pm curfew, and other nation measures still needing to be applied.

Gyms will remain open under all tiers, although advice to work from home will remain in force in all areas.

WHICH AREAS HAD THE BIGGEST PERCENTAGE FALLIN INFECTIONS?

Authority

Bracknell Forest

Brighton

Torbay

Trafford (GM)

Southampton

Plymouth

Cheshire West

Sefton (Liv)

Liverpool (Liv)

Wandsworth(Lon)

% fall

-55.4%

-51.1%

-47.1%

-46.9%

-46.5%

-45.4%

-45.2%

-43.9%

-43.6%

-42.6% 

Infection rate

60.3

76

107.9

164.3

118

116.4

164.4

140.7

146.2

102.2 

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WHICH AREAS HAD THE SMALLEST FALLS IN INFECTIONS? 

Authority

Medway

East Sussex

Redbridge (Lon)

Luton

Newham (Lon)

Hounslow (Lon)

Suffolk

Greenwich (Lon)

Barking (Lon)

Thurrock

% change

+28.5%

+5.2%

+5%

0%

-0.1%

-1%

-3.2%

-4.1%

-5.9%

-6.4% 

Infection rate

414.6

122.9

295.9

285.9

210.7

187.5

80.7

177.8

248.5

208.8 

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It comes as Cambridge scientists today say Covid-19 infections in England likely peaked in mid-October, before the second lockdown was imposed.

They say the number of new infections a day reached a high of 48,500 on October 19, but has since slid to 41,200 by November 22.

Their estimate is based on the number of Covid-19 deaths recorded each day, alongside the number of people testing positive for antibodies against the virus. 

Department of Health data shows that the average number of cases a day peaked on November 16, at 25,331, and has since declined to an average of 17,329 by November 26.

The scientists – which manage the Nowcast and Forecast model – also said the growth rate in cases for England has dipped to -0.01  a day, suggesting the second wave is in decline.

They also found that London had the highest rate of infection in the country, followed by the North West. The South West still had the lowest attack rate of infections.

Announcing the results the programme leader Professor Daniela de Angelis, a  biostatistician, said: ‘The pandemic is slowing down.

‘(The fall) likely results from a combination of the social restrictions introduced in October, the temporary decrease in activity over the half-term period, and the ongoing lockdown. Disentangling the contribution of these factors is challenging.’

She added: ‘We remain concerned that R may not have fallen to a level sufficiently below 1, which strongly suggests that effective measures to control infection rates must continue to be in place after the end of the current lockdown period.’ 

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

The post Only THREE authorities in England saw Covid infection rates rise last week, official data reveals appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

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