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The 3 new areas of Yorkshire on Covid watchlist and what it means

Written by on 01/10/2020

Three areas of Yorkshire have been bumped up the government watchlist following a rise in the number of coronavirus cases across the county.

Sheffield, Rotherham and Wakefield will all come under closer scrutiny in the coming days after the government highlighted the three areas in its latest briefing.

Sheffield has been escalated to an area of enhanced support after its infection rate rose to a worrying 105.3 cases per 100,000.

Meanwhile, Rotherham has been added as an area of concern after its infection rate soared to 91.6 and Wakefield is in the same category after the infection rate jumped to 70.3.

Although it doesn’t mean that tighter local restrictions are in place yet, it acts as a warning that stricter rules could follow if cases continue to rise.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock
(Image: PA)

The announcement, from health secretary Matt Hancock, came at the same time that Liverpool, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough were all placed into a new local lockdown, banning anyone in the north west and north east areas from mixing with people outside their household in any indoor setting.

Halton and Warrington are also affected, while Bolton has now been brought in line with the measures currently in place in Greater Manchester.

Mr Hancock said: ” Our strategy is to suppress the virus, protecting the economy, education, and the NHS, until a vaccine can make us safe.

“I understand how much of an imposition these new measures are. I want rules like this to stay in place for as short a time as possible. I am sure we all do.

“The more people follow the rules and reduce their social contact, the quicker we can get Liverpool, and the North East, back on their feet.”

What does it mean for Sheffield?

For Sheffield, the increase to an area of enhanced support means the South Yorkshire city will be provided with more national support and additional resources to help the council manage a rise in cases.

This could mean more testing units deployed across Sheffield and new measures to tackle localised outbreaks in certain suburbs.

What does it mean for Rotherham and Wakefield?

Rotherham and Wakefield have been identified as areas of concern, which means the threat of Covid-19 is not quite as serious as in Sheffield.

However, additional actions may be taken to manage outbreaks and reduce community spread of the virus to more normal levels.

Actions taken may include additional targeted testing at high risk areas or groups, for example care homes, enhanced communications around the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene and other preventative measures, and more detailed work to understand where clusters of the virus are occurring so that appropriate action can be taken.