Three-tier lockdown system set to be unveiled - but should Suffolk and Essex be spared tough new restrictions?
PUBLISHED: 08:36 12 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:55 12 October 2020
A raft of new lockdown rules are set to be announced tomorrow as the fight against rising Covid cases steps up a gear - but there are once again calls for Suffolk to be spared the ‘draconian’ measures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a new ‘three-tier’ system with stricter measures in areas where the rate of confirmed cases exceeds 100 per 100,000 people, but there are once again calls for Suffolk and Essex to be spared the ‘draconian’ measures.
The focus has been on areas in the North and the Midlands where cases are high and growing rapidly. The latest figures show Nottingham had 2,532 new cases in the week to October 6, with a rate of 760.6 cases per 100,000 - the highest figures in England - while the rate in Suffolk was 37.8 per 1000,000 and in Essex it was 57.
As a result, leaders in Suffolk say they have been speaking with the Government throughout the pandemic and they continue to call for Suffolk to be left out of the new measures.
Suzie Morley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, believes the area should not be placed under any further lockdown measures at present.
She said: “I’m not anticipating Mid Suffolk coming in any of the tiers. Our rate is really low.
“Local lockdowns are clearly the answer, but nothing at the moment warrants one.
“The more we can keep our residents fit and healthy, the better we’ll come through this.”
She added: “We are talking to central government continuously.”
In areas with excessive rates local lockdowns could be imposed with conditions as strict as those seen during the nationwide one first introduced in March when all non-essential businesses were forced to close and people were told to stay at home.
John Ward, leader of Babergh District Council, believes “draconian” measures are not required in Suffolk if cases remain low.
He added: “At the moment there is no consideration of a lockdown. Cases are still very low.
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“We need to wait until we see what happens in terms of the statistics.
“People are following the guidelines. But we shouldn’t be complacent, we have to be vigilant.”
There are fears these measures could devastate the economy and, following a meeting with Government officials, leaders of West Yorkshire councils wrote a joint letter to the Chancellor stating: “We are concerned by rumours in the media that we might be pushed into Level 3 of a new system set to be introduced, without any discussion or consultation, or without adequate economic measures put in place to support affected people and businesses.
“Another lockdown will have a devastating effect on our town and city centres and the overall regional economy. It will result in a levelling down of our region and undo the good work we have done over the last decade to improve the fortunes of our people.”
The latest figures show Mid Suffolk had 30 new cases in the week to October 6, and a rate of 28.9 per 100,000 people - one of the lowest rates in the country.
Meanwhile, West Suffolk had 79 new cases and a rate of 44.1 per 100,000 while in East Suffolk there were 87 new cases that week and the rate is 34.9 per 100,000.
Ipswich had 40 new confirmed cases and a rate of 30.7 per 100,000, while Babergh had 39 and a rate of 42.4.
In Colchester had 84 new cases and a rate of 43.1 per 100,000, while Braintree had 57 cases and a rate of 37.4 and Tendring had 93 cases and a rate of 63.5.
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