New data has revealed that the majority of local areas in England saw a rise in Covid case rates, in the seven days up to Dec 14.
Of the 315 local areas in England, 89 per cent have seen a rise in case rates, 11 per cent have seen a fall and two are unchanged, according to Public Health England.
Basildon in Essex has the highest rate in England, with 1,620 new cases recorded – the equivalent of 865.4 cases per 100,000 people.
In light of the rising case rate, the Health Secretary announced an update to England’s Tier system with much of the East and South-East of England entering Tier 3.
The change will go into effect from midnight on Saturday 19 December and will affect 4.2 million people living in Bedfordshire; Buckinghamshire; Berkshire; Peterborough; Hertfordshire; Surrey – except for Waverley; Hastings and Rother; Portsmouth; Gosport; and Havant.
At a press briefing from Downing Street on December 14, Matt Hancock revealed the UK has seen a 14% increase in cases in the last week.
He added, there are also “16,531 Covid patients in hospitals across the UK, which is also up.”
A strengthened three-tier system has replaced the lockdown measures, with 99% of England falling under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions, after scientists warned that the previous lower tiers “weren’t slowing the epidemic.”
The regulations subject businesses to Covid-secure guidelines or force them to close but, unlike the last tier-system, non-essential retail, gyms and hairdressers will be open in all tiers.
Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly are in Tier 1, but Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News more could join them after a review on December 16.
Addressing MP’s in the House of Commons on December 14, Mr Hancock shared: Over the last few days, thanks to our world-class genomic capability in the UK, we have identified a new variant of coronavirus which may be associated with the faster spread in the South of England.”
He continued, stating the numbers of the new variant of coronavirus “are increasing rapidly”.
Read more: what are the rules in each tier?
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Public Health England release a daily update on how many confirmed cases of coronavirus there are in each English local authority.
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