Covid-19: Cumbria to go to tier 2 after lockdown

Media caption,
Health Secretary Matt Hancock sets out England's new coronavirus tier system

Cumbria is to be placed in tier two - high alert - when lockdown ends on 2 December, the government has announced.

The rules mean households cannot mix indoors and people must follow the rule of six if meeting outdoors, while pubs serving "substantial meals" can reopen.

In the week to 21 November, there was a small rise in cases in the Carlisle and South Lakeland District Council areas, blamed on a "large school outbreak".

However, elsewhere in the county cases had gone down.

The system will be regularly reviewed, with the first scheduled for 16 December.

Many areas have been put into tier three, including all of the North East.

Image caption,
Carlisle had been placed in tier two before the current lockdown

The Department for Health and Social Care said in a statement: "The picture in Cumbria is broadly improving although case rates in Carlisle and South Lakeland are increasing - with increases likely due to a large school outbreak.

"Case rates in over 60s are above 100 per 100,000 in Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness.

"These case rates are too high for allocation to tier one but Cumbria's trajectory does currently not warrant inclusion in tier three."

Throughout the county, pubs and restaurants which serve "substantial meals" will be allowed to be operate with table service, but must stop serving by 10pm and close by 11pm.

Spectators will be allowed at outdoor and indoor sport events, or at performances and shows, but with a maximum crowd capacity outdoors of 50% or 2,000 people, whichever is smaller, and indoor 1,000 people.

Make no mistake, this is only a gradual step out of lockdown.

At the start of November more than half the country was in tier one, meaning households could mix indoors in people's homes and in pubs and restaurants as long as they kept to the rule of six.

Now that is only possible in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly.

Infection rates are showing early signs of coming down, but the government is erring on the side of caution.

Research suggests they were too slow to put areas in higher tiers before lockdown.

They do not want to make that mistake again - and so are starting off high in the hope they can move areas down the tiers.

But it is not only about which area is in which tier.

The top two tiers have been beefed up, particularly in regards to hospitality.

One ray of hope, the government says, is the experience of Liverpool.

Before lockdown it was in tier three and seeing among the highest infection rates in the country.

Today it has now been put in tier two with infection levels pretty close to the national average.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice made by people up and down the country, we are able to move out of national lockdown and into more targeted local, tiered restrictions.

"By following the rules together we can get out of these tough measures."

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