Are Norfolk and Waveney likely to get tougher coronavirus restrictions?
PUBLISHED: 12:32 10 October 2020
Local areas look set to face tough new coronavirus restrictions with Boris Johnson due to outline a new three-tier system on Monday.
The system will see different rules for different areas as infection rates rise across the country.
The latest data for Norfolk shows there were 365 new coronavirus cases over the last week with Great Yarmouth and Norwich recording 81 cases each.
In Yarmouth a council-led intervention has seen a dip in cases leading to hopes the town has pulled back from the precipe of a harder lockdown, likely to be imposed in the north.
The move comes after the Prime Minister’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister wrote to northern MPs to warn them it was “very likely” the region would be hit with tougher rules.
At the same time the Government moved to pave the way for tough new restrictions by saying workers in pubs, restaurants and other businesses which are forced to close will have two thirds of their wages paid by Whitehall.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the expansion of the Job Support Scheme would protect jobs and provide “reassurance and a safety net” for people and businesses across the UK in advance of a potentially “difficult winter”.
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In the letter to northern MPs Sir Edward stated that “The rising incidence in parts of the country mean that it is very likely that certain local areas will face further restrictions.”
He added: “The Government will discuss a set of measures with local leaders all of which present difficult choices.”
Talks are to continue over the weekend.
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Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “It is creeping up everywhere and it looks like it will spread. If we can keep to what we are with the rule of six that would be wonderful.
“We have got to see what the figures are, we do not know what the threshold is, but it looks as if our message has got out there.”
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions: “Our approach... will be to have simple national rules, some basic rules to be implemented where the rate of infection rises in a concerning way in a particular place, but then also greater freedom for those local areas to design further measures, in conjunction with ourselves.”
After a meeting with Government officials, leaders of West Yorkshire councils wrote a joint letter to the Chancellor stating: “We are concerned by rumours in the media that we might be pushed into Level 3 of a new system set to be introduced, without any discussion or consultation, or without adequate economic measures put in place to support affected people and businesses.
“Another lockdown will have a devastating effect on our town and city centres and the overall regional economy. It will result in a levelling down of our region and undo the good work we have done over the last decade to improve the fortunes of our people.”
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The moves came as a further 13,864 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK were reported on Friday, and 87 more deaths were confirmed of people who died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.
Nottingham has the highest rate in England, with 760.6 cases per 100,000 people - a huge jump from 158.3 per 100,000 in the seven days to September 29.
Knowsley has the second highest rate, which has leapt from 391.1 to 657.6 per 100,000, while Liverpool is in third place, where the rate has also increased sharply, from 419.0 to 599.9.
Latest figures in our region saw Yarmouth’s infection rate at 81.5 per 100,000 people, and Norwich at 57.6 per 100,000 people.
In King’s Lynn and West Norfolk the infection rate has increased to 34.3 per 100,000, and in East Suffolk cases have risen to 30.9 cases per 100,000 people, prompting a reminder to people to be vigilant.
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