How do Suffolk and Essex get out of Tier 2 – and when?

Suffolk and Essex, along with the rest of the East of England, are to be placed into tier 2 when the coronavirus lockdown end...

Suffolk and Essex, along with the rest of the East of England, are to be placed into tier 2 when the coronavirus lockdown ends Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

It will be at least two weeks before Suffolk and Essex can move out of Tier 2 virus measures – and everyone needs to stick to the rules to reduce cases and ensure that happens.

Health secretary Matt Hancock addressed MPs on the new measures on Thursday Picture: UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR/PA

Health secretary Matt Hancock addressed MPs on the new measures on Thursday Picture: UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR/PA - Credit: PA

Prior to the nationwide lockdown, Suffolk was placed in Tier 1 and Essex was in Tier 2 following a request to the government from its county council.

But what will the scientists be looking at for the East of England region to be able to move and be placed into the lowest tier?

The decision on which tier to place regions into is based on five key factors:

•Case detection rates in all age groups.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant


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•Case detection rates in over 60s.

•The rate at which cases are rising or falling.

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•The test positivity rate.

•Local pressures on NHS services.

If these factors are worsening, the government could move the East of England region into a higher tier - but it could likewise lift some of the measures if the situation improves.

The government will review each tier weekly, with the first review set to take place two weeks after the end of the lockdown on December 16.

MORE: Pubs ‘hung out to dry’ as tier 2 restrictions imposed in Suffolk and Essex

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has warned the indicators determining tiers are not based on “rigid thresholds” and will be considered as a collective whenever the measures are reviewed.

He said in a statement: “The indicators have been designed to give the government a picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken.

“These key indicators need to be viewed in the context of how they interact with each other as well as the wider context but provide an important framework for decision making.

“Given these sensitivities, it is not possible to set rigid thresholds for these indicators.”

East Anglian health chiefs have called on the community to continue to follow the government’s guidelines to ensure the region can be lifted out of tier 2 as quickly as possible.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said: “We know what we need to do to get Suffolk back on track. Every one of us needs to keep following the rules to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“We need to ensure our hospitals can continue to care for people who urgently need help, including those without Covid.”

John Spence, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for health and adult social care, added: “We understand that going back into tier 2 will be hard for many, but we must all work together, follow the restrictions in order to save further lives and continue to protect our NHS.”

MORE: VIDEO: Tier 2 explained as Suffolk and Essex to be placed under ‘high’ restrictions

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