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Are cases rising or falling in current and possible Tier 3 regions?

Written by on 21/10/2020

Areas in the north of England are being placed under the strictest lockdown measures as coronavirus cases rise.

The Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire have all been placed in Tier 3 since 14 October.

Using the latest data available, Sky News looks at the rate of cases in each of those areas, and in places under consideration for being placed in Tier 3.

All but one area in the current or prospective Tier 3 regions had an infection rate (number of cases per 100,000 people) higher than England’s total average of 162.6 in the week up to 18 October.

Liverpool City Region

The first area in England to be placed under the tightest restrictions on 14 October was doing better in its first four days of Tier 3 than before.

Public Health England (PHE) data shows the infection rate is down across all six of the region’s areas in the week up to 18 October compared with the week before.

The Wirral had the largest percentage decrease, with a 20% drop in its infection rate, while St Helens only had a 4% drop.

Despite the decreases, the Liverpool City Region’s average rate remains high at 438 cases per 100,000 people for that week.

Knowsley has the highest rate in England at 645.2, while Liverpool is third with 552.9.

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Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen

Placed in Tier 3 on 17 October, the region in England’s northwest had some large increases in infection rates in some of its 14 local authority areas.

Only two places saw rates drop in the week up to 18 October from the week before – Burnley by 24% and West Lancashire by 7%.

Rossendale had the largest increase at 59%, with the Ribble Valley coming in second at 38%.

While other areas had higher percentage increases, Blackburn with Darwen had the highest rate, with 551.2 cases per 100,000 people, and Rossendale followed with 523.3.

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Greater Manchester

After 10 days of negotiations, Greater Manchester will go into Tier 3 lockdown from 23 October.

While those talks were taking place, case rates rose in seven of the region’s 10 local authority areas in the week to 18 October.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the delay in reaching an agreement had impacted the spread of coronavirus in the region – and displayed a heat map showing how cases have spread in Greater Manchester from the young to the old.

This heat map shows how cases have spread from the young to the old across Manchester from September to 15 October. Pic: COBR
Image: This heat map shows how cases have spread from the young to the old across Manchester from September to 15 October

Bolton had the highest rise compared with the week before, at 28%, with Salford following behind at 20%, then Oldham at 17%.

Manchester, Trafford and Stockport all saw a decrease in case rates, with drops of 12%, 7% and 5% respectively.

While Rochdale had an 11% rise, it had the highest infection rate of 480.5 cases per 100,000 people and Salford was second with 478.

Despite Manchester having the largest decrease, it finished off the week with a rate of 422.2 – the fifth highest of Greater Manchester’s areas.

Stockport had the lowest rate at 282.8.

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South Yorkshire

From Saturday, Tier 3 will include South Yorkshire, which tells a disparate tale between its largest city and the other three areas.

Sheffield had a 19% fall in its infection rate to 367.9 cases per 100,000 in the week up to 18 October.

However, Barnsley saw a rise of 52%, Doncaster increased by 42%, and Rotherham by 30%.

Barnsley’s rate of 427.8 was also the highest, while Doncaster was 310.1 and Rotherham’s 363.5.

A social distancing sign in Sheffield, after a range of new restrictions to combat the rise in coronavirus cases came into place in England.
Image: Sheffield is the only place in South Yorkshire to have seen a drop in rates

Possible Tier 3 regions

West Yorkshire

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was in talks with several other areas about going into Tier 3, including West Yorkshire.

Like it’s southern neighbour, the region’s largest city has seen a drop while the other five areas have risen.

Leeds’ infection rate decreased by 12% in the week to 18 October.

Wakefield rose by 22% to a rate of 295.3, Calderdale by 17% to 186.6, Kirklees by 8% to 276.5 and Bradford by 7%.

Bradford had the highest rate with 361.1 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Leeds – despite its drop – which had a rate of 348.3.

Image: Leeds has managed to get its infection rate down


Robin Hood’s county has so far avoided moving into Tier 3, despite Nottingham having England’s second-highest rate at 589.9.

The city reduced its rate by 37% in the week to 18 October, while one of the region’s eight areas, Newark and Sherwood, decreased by 29% to 166.2.

However, there were some large increases, with Mansfield’s rate rising by 92% to 211.3, Bassetlaw by 81% to 184, and Ashfield by 54% to 224.1 – all above the national average, but much lower than Nottingham.

A mask-wearing man walks through Nottingham as the country has reached a 'tipping point' in relation to coronavirus
Image: Nottingham has England’s second-highest infection rate

North East

Warnings about the North East going into a stricter lockdown have been around since before the three-tier system was introduced.

It is a large region, but eight of its 12 areas managed to get their rates down in the week to 18 October

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Newcastle-upon-Tyne had the largest fall, at 41%, to bring its rate down to 277.2, while North Tyneside had a 31% drop to a rate of 176.2.

Hartlepool had the highest rate, with 334.6, which increased by 22%, while County Durham had the second highest at 196.8 – but that is a decrease of 13%.

Darlington had a rise of 23% to a rate of 253.4, while Middlesbrough’s rate was higher at 303.8, but had a smaller rise of 8%.

Northumberland had a decrease of 12% to 154.9, making it the only area in the Tier 3 current and prospective regions to be below the national average of 162.6.

Northumberland, home to Hadrian's Wall, is the only place out of the current or prospective Tier 3 areas below England's average rate
Image: Northumberland, home to Hadrian’s Wall, is the only place out of the current or prospective Tier 3 areas below England’s average rate

The overall rate rise in the North East was 10.6%.

Local governments are desperately trying to get rates down so they do not have to go into Tier 3, but the government has said it will impose the tougher restrictions on areas if they cannot do so.

 Sky News

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