What the December 16 level exam could mean for Merseyside

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The government is due to review England’s tiered system of coronavirus restrictions this week.
The Liverpool city region was placed at Level 2 when the nationwide lockdown was lifted on December 2, meaning restaurants and pubs serving food could reopen.

Under the new levels, different rules apply in different parts of the country, some areas including Greater Manchester, currently at level 3.

The system will be reviewed on December 16 – two weeks after it was first implemented by the government, meaning regions can see the level at which they change before Christmas.

Here’s what the level test could mean for Merseyside.

The Liverpool city region was the first to move from the highest level of Level 3 restrictions to Level 2 on December 2, after the rate of coronavirus cases dropped significantly.

In Liverpool, levels of coronavirus cases peaked slightly last week, with 450 people testing positive in the week to December 7, up from 481 the week before.

The current infection rate in Liverpool is around 90 per 100,000 and remains well below the average rate for England which is currently 165.9.

Most other parts of Merseyside also had a plateau in the past week.

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The latest data indicates that the chances of the Liverpool City region moving to Tier 1 restrictions when arrangements are reviewed next week are very slim.

But with the infection rate remaining below the national average, the region is likely to remain at Level 2 after December 16.

Decisions about each level are made based on the following criteria:

  • number of cases in all age groups
  • case numbers specifically in the over 60s
  • rate at which cases decrease or increase
  • infection rate per 100,000 people
  • the pressures projected on the NHS

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Regions that will move to level 3 will not be invited to negotiate with government ministers as they were previously.

Instead, funding will be decided using a formula and uniform restrictions will be imposed.

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