All of North East LA7 – Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Durham and Sunderland – will be subject to level 3 restrictions from December 2.
The system is designed to tackle everything from the mix of households and family gatherings to the way pubs and restaurants are allowed to operate.
Now, the government’s Joint Biosafety Center has produced a graph that has been released by the Department of Health – showing exactly where each area is on a scale.
The chart shows which places are close to the boundaries between levels, meaning they could go down one level – or up – when the system is first examined on December 16.
Areas dropping level 3 would then be allowed to open pubs and restaurants, with alcohol allowed to be served alongside a “heavy meal”. Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons fans could also return in limited numbers.
Areas dropping level 2 would be allowed to drink in a pub without ordering meals, and more people would be allowed to attend outdoor events and sports.
Currently only Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight are at level 1 – the Isle of Wight being closest to the upper limit.
Suffolk is the lowest level 2 spot on the chart, indicating that if the infection rate continues to drop, it could drop to level 1 before Christmas.
Norfolk, Rutland, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire are slightly higher in the ranking, but close to the Tier 1 border with Dorset, Devon and Wiltshire not being much higher.
At the upper end of Level 2 Cheshire, North Yorkshire and Shropshire are close to the Level 3 border.
Areas that are only Level 3 and could see their restrictions relaxed before Christmas are Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Kent – with Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire not far behind.
The North East is located midway through Level 3, alongside Great Manchester, Bristol and North Somerset.
Birmingham, Leicestershire, Tees Valley, West Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Humber are all towards the upper end of Level 3, according to the graph.
The current levels will take effect on December 2.
More than 55 million people will be placed in Tier 2 and 3 measures on December 2, meaning mixing between households indoors will effectively be banned for the vast majority of the country.
Large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West belong to the most restrictive Level 3, which accounts for 41.5% of the population, or 23.3 million people.
The figures, for the seven days to November 23, are based on testing done in laboratories (pillar 1 of the government’s testing program) and in the wider community (pillar 2).
The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Data for the most recent four days (November 24-27) have been excluded as they are incomplete and do not reflect the actual number of cases.
From left to right, we read: the name of the local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to November 23; number (in brackets) of new cases registered in the seven days prior to 23 November; rate of new cases in the seven days to November 16; number (in parentheses) of new cases registered in the seven days to November 16.
County Durham, 247,5, (1312), 367,9, (1950)
Gateshead, 257,4, (520), 355,8, (719)
Newcastle, 275,1, (833), 417,7, (1265)
North Tyneside, 268,9, (559), 391,0, (813)
Northumberland, 225,2, (726), 283,5, (914)
Sunderland, 239,5, (665), 386,7, (1074)
South Tyneside, 320,6, (484), 384,2, (580)
The majority of authorities – including London – will belong to Tier 2, which will cover 57.3% of the country, or 32 million people.
Five factors mainly determine the restrictions in each zone
- case detection rates in all age groups;
- case detection rates among those over 60;
- the rate at which cases increase or decrease;
- positivity rate – the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests performed;
- and pressure on the NHS, including current and planned occupation.
The government has said it needs to maintain some flexibility to compare indicators against each other – for example if the capacity of hospitals in neighboring areas is lower.
Another example given in the coronavirus winter plan is that case detection rates should be weighed against whether the spread of the virus is localized in particular communities.
The plan states that “given these sensitivities, it is not possible to set rigid thresholds for these indicators, as this would lead to poorer quality decisions”.
The first level exam is scheduled for December 16.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Downing Street briefing that the tiering allocation would be reviewed every 14 days from that date and that mass testing could exempt households from restrictions.
He said: “Currently, testing on this scale has not been tried, but in due course if it works, when people test negative, it may also be possible for families and communities to be released. certain restrictions even if their region of origin remains at level 3. ”
Former minister Tobias Ellwood said the government should use up-to-date data to make decisions on the new restrictions. He noted that the information used to place the different zones in a level would have more than a week at the time they are imposed.
He also called for the criteria and rationale for the tier system to be defined so that people can “better understand” what is needed to move out of a stricter tier.
He told BBC Breakfast on Friday: “I think clarity of communication is so important right now. ”
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick insists there is “every reason” to expect some areas to be moved to a lower level on December 16.
He said the government, advised by experts, would review each local authority area and see if there is potential for movement.
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He told Sky News: “There were a number of places that were pretty finely balanced judgments where they were on the cusp of different levels. These are the places most likely to be in this position. ”
In contrast, Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned “it was still too early to see what the effect was.”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today show: “I can’t imagine there will be huge changes at this point, just because I don’t think we will have accumulated much data by then. . ”
At level 1, the rule of six applies indoors and outdoors, people are welcome to work from home if they can, and pubs are limited to table service.
At level 2, restrictions include prohibiting households from mingling indoors, while pubs and restaurants will only be able to sell alcohol with a “heavy meal”.
Level 3 measures mean a ban on mixing households, except in limited circumstances such as in parks.
Bars and restaurants will be limited to take-out or delivery services and people will be advised to avoid traveling outside of their area.
In all neighborhoods, shops and schools will remain open.