SOUTH Yorkshire will remain in Tier 3 over the Christmas period, the Government has confirmed this morning.
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis called the decision "another hammer blow" for communities and businesses.
Speaking in the House of Commons, health secretary Matt Hancock said: "For the vast majority of places currently in Tier 3 we are not making any change today."
The Government has based this decision on five criteria;
- New infection rate in all ages – South Yorkshire’s rate ranges from 143 to 234 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days
- New infection rate in over 60s – South Yorkshire’s rate is 161 new cases per 100,000
- Rate by which cases are rising and falling – South Yorkshire’s rate is between eight per cent and five per cent, when it should be below five per cent
- Numbers admitted to hospital with Covid in the last week – South Yorkshire had 104 new cases
- Pressure on the NHS – South Yorkshire had 632 people in hospital beds, around 1.5 times the spring peak
However, due to falling rates, the health secretary announced Bristol and North Somerset will move from Tier 3 to Tier 2 on Saturday, and Herefordshire will move from Tier 2 to Tier 1.
Yesterday, 25,161 cases of Coronavirus were reported nationwide, with 18,038 people in hospital in the UK.
"We must keep suppressing this virus," said Mr Hancock.
Responding to the announcement, Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis said: “I know this decision is absolutely the last thing our communities and businesses wanted to hear, another hammer blow to follow so many others. After the endless grind and hardship of this extraordinary, terrible year, simply having an ordinary Christmas would have been a huge relief. For many of our businesses, these days and weeks are critical to their survival.
“I would reiterate that this decision was taken solely by central government. Once again, mayors and local leaders have been cut out of the decision-making process and not even afforded the basic courtesy of being consulted, or informed in advance, about this decision. These decisions are absolutely crucial to our residents, businesses and communities, but yet again they are being made about us, without us."
Mr Jarvis added: "The lockdowns have brought the rate of new infections down, but we are going into Christmas in a perilous position. Better treatments means fewer people are dying, but they are staying longer in hospital, occupying 632 beds across South Yorkshire – far above the peak of 400 in the spring. A surge in cases over Christmas, combined with the normal pressure on hospitals from winter flu, could put our NHS at a tipping point. We simply can’t risk the needless danger to our loved ones that would bring."