est Yorkshire is to become the latest region to join the top tier of coronavirus restrictions.
The area’s 2.3 million people residents will enter Tier 3 lockdown from 12.01am on Monday, Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake has confirmed.
The region includes the cities of Leeds and Bradford.
Bradford is currently reporting the highest infection rates in England, with 483.5 cases per 100,000 of the population.
The neighbouring areas of South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire are already the “very high risk” measures.
The leaders of West Yorkshire councils released a joint statement on Thursday night saying: “Over recent days, we have had a number of meetings with Government ministers to discuss the next steps for controlling the rising Covid-19 infection rates across the region.
“Today, with great reluctance, we have accepted that West Yorkshire will now move into Tier Three (very high) restrictions as of 00.01am on Monday 2nd November.
“The virus spread is now at a critical juncture. Not only are infections rising in our region, particularly amongst the elderly, but we already have evidence that the NHS is starting to struggle to deliver essential elective care.”
The Council’s chief executive Tom Riordan earlier confirmed that a support package of £46.6 million had been negotiated with the Government for the region in addition to the Tier 2 funding already agreed.
He said there would also be an additional £12.7 million for testing and tracing.
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Julian Hartley, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, told the virtual press conference the city’s hospitals were currently caring for 268 Covid patients – a figure higher than in the first wave of the pandemic.
He said he expected the numbers to continue to rise.
The city’s director of public health, Victoria Eaton, said the latest case rate for Leeds is 416.7 per 100,000 people.
She said the city was the 35th in England in terms of the seven-day infection rate.
Ms Eaton said a “cause of concern” was that, for the first time on Wednesday, the age group with the highest number of cases was the 30 to 44-year-olds rather than the 16 to 29-year-olds.
She said the situation is “incredibly challenging at the moment”.
It comes as a swathe of other regions prepare to move up from the “medium risk” Tier 1 Covid-alert level into the “high” Tier 2.
Areas entering Tier 2 on Saturday include East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston-Upon-Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Dudley, Staffordshire, Telford, the Wrekin, Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, the whole of High Peak, Charnwood, Luton and Oxford City.
This means that more people in England will be in Tier 2 (23.9 million) than in Tier 1 (23.7 million).
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We continue to see a worrying rise in cases right across the country, and it is clear decisive action is needed.”
The latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England shows that Covid-19 case rates in England are rising for all age groups except 10 to 19 year-olds.
The highest rates are currently among 20 to 29-year-olds, where the rate was 333.2 cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 25, up from 306.6 in the previous week.
The rate among 30 to 39-year-olds was 274.1 per 100,000, up from 213.8.
For the 70-79 age group, the rate was 110.0, up from 88.0, while for people aged 80 and over it was 156.7, up from 125.6.
Separate data from NHS England revealed there were 8,595 patients with coronavirus in hospital beds across England on October 27 – up from 6,072 on October 20 and more than double the 4,105 beds occupied with confirmed Covid-19 patients on October 13.
Meanwhile, local authority sources in the West Midlands said the “very high” restrictions level – Tier 3 – could be imposed “by the end of next week or the start of the following week”.
Government scientific adviser Dr Mike Tildesley has said more national restrictions are needed, with the current trajectory likely to put nearly everywhere in Tier 2 before Christmas.
Source: Evening Standard Business News