How close is Suffolk to entering Tier 1?

An official graph outlining Covid-19 outbreaks across England shows how close Suffolk is to other Tier 1 areas such as Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.

The chart, published by the Department of Health, works by comparing infection rates in the week that ended November 19 to those in the week to November 12.

Despite being placed into Tier 2 following the government’s announcement yesterday, the graph clearly shows Suffolk grouped closer to Tier 1 areas, no doubt angering some people who believed the county should have been placed in the least restrictive tier.

But it also may give hope to many that Suffolk could be on course to enter the Tier 1 when reviewed by the government.

Being in Tier 1 would mean people in the county would be able to mix socially between households providing they abide by the ‘rule of six’.

Hospitality businesses, such as pubs, restaurants and bars, would also be able operate until 11pm with table service only, with last orders by 10pm, should Suffolk enter Tier 1.

Being in Tier 1 would also see more fans allowed at sports stadiums, with 4,000 able to enter Portman Road instead of the 2,000 in Tier 2.

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Areas further to the right of the graph, which was produced by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, had higher infection rates in the most recent week, while those closer to the top had higher case rates the week before.

MORE: Suffolk to be in Tier 2 in local lockdown systemA larger circle dictates a higher rate of coronavirus cases among people who are 60 or older, which is one of the most important elements of judging an area’s outbreak.

All places with circles above the diagonal dotted line saw their infection rates fall in the week between November 12 and 19. Those below the dotted line had an increase in infections.

The latest government figures, for the seven days to November 23, showed a big week-on-week jump for Ipswich, which was up from 92 per 100,000 people to 157.8 – with 216 new cases.

Babergh dropped from 141.2 per 100,000 to 103.2, with East Suffolk down from 88.6 to 64.9.

West Suffolk (down to 50.8) and Mid Suffolk (down to 43.3) remain among the areas with the lowest Covid-19 case rates in the country.

Isle of Wight – down from 82.5 to 38.8 per 100,000 people – had the lowest coronavirus case rate in the country.

Speaking yesterday, Matt Hancock, health secretary and West Suffolk MP, said he hoped Suffolk could join Tier 1 soon.

“My own constituency of West Suffolk has the lowest case rate for over-60s in the whole country and I want to thank (council leaders) Matthew Hicks and John Griffiths and their teams for this achievement,” he said.

“But despite the fact that Suffolk has the lowest case rate outside Cornwall and the Isle of Wight our judgement, looking at all the indicators, and based on the public health advice is that Suffolk needs to be in Tier 2 to get the virus further under control.

“I hope Suffolk and so many other parts of the country can get to Tier 1 soon and the more people stick to the rules the quicker that will happen.”