HAMPSHIRE might remain in Tier 2 for longer than two weeks, it has been warned.
The new coronavirus restrictions which take effect tomorrow (Wednesday), are set to be reviewed on 16th December, writes Maria Zaccaro of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
But Hampshire, which has been placed in ‘high alert’ Tier 2, might remain in the same tier “for longer” to manage the loosening of the restrictions at Christmas.
County bosses said the rate of infection and hospital admissions across the county have started to decrease. But they have also stressed the virus is “still alive”.
At a meeting of the Hampshire local outbreak engagement board, Simon Bryant, the director of public health at the county council, was asked what the chances were for the county to come out of Tier 2 on 16th December.
He said: “We need to see some sustained drop in those figures for a significant number of time, because what we are worried about is if we come out of these restrictions too early these cases will just go back up, particularly bearing in mind we have got a loosening of restrictions across the Christmas period.
“I think what we might find is happening is that we stay in this tier for longer to make sure that we can manage Christmas and then come out some time in the year – but I don’t know. I think we need to maintain our strong position and the good work that is going on.”
At the meeting Mr Bryant told councillors that the current weekly rate of infection for Hampshire had dropped from 135.3 per 100,000 people to 113.8. The weekly rate of infection for England was 209.1.
But civic chiefs stressed the need for residents to continue complying with the rules.
John Coughlan, county council chief executive, said the rate of infection had started to drop only very recently, adding: “It does feel to me that the county’s tier is the appropriate one.”
MPs across the country have voiced concerns over the new tier system, as they prepared to vote on the measures today.
Health bosses said a number of factors will be considered over the coming weeks including the rate of infection, the rate of infection in people over 60, and hospital admissions.