Why have Norfolk and Suffolk been placed in Tier 2?

Latest figures show coronavirus cases are showing signs of slowing. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Latest figures show coronavirus cases are showing signs of slowing. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The rate of coronavirus cases in over 60s in Norfolk appears to have been one of the key reasons why the county has been placed in Tier 2 of restrictions after lockdown ends.

While many had hoped the county would be put in Tier 1 after December 2, the government put Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in Tier 2.

It means the counties are rated as being on high alert - areas with a "higher or rapidly rising level of infections".

While shops will reopen, households will not be able to mix indoors and pubs will only be able to open if operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a "substantial meal".

The five factors used to determine tiers include case detection rates in all age groups, case detection rates in the over 60s and the rate at which cases are rising or falling.

The two other measures are the positivity rate - the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken - and pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said hospitals' debt would be written off. Picture: Pippa Fowles/Crown

Health secretary Matt Hancock. - Credit: PA

And written statements published following health secretary Matt Hancock's announcements show the government's reasoning for Norfolk being in Tier 2.

They say: "The majority of Norfolk is improving. Case rates are 123/100,000 and positivity is 5pc.

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"Case rates for over 60s remain over 100 per 100,000 in Great Yarmouth, Norwich and South Norfolk (with increasing trajectories in the last two areas)."

Last week, Dr Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk had raised her concerns about the rising cases among over 60s.

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's public health director - Credit: Norfolk County Council

She said: "This really does matter, because it’s particularly in the over 60s that we are concerned, because they’ve got such a higher risk of becoming unwell and needing more intensive care, such as hospital care.”

For Suffolk, the written statement said there was an "improving picture across the majority of Suffolk".

They said the case rate had fallen to 82 cases per 100,000, people, with rates dropping in four of five areas.

But they said there had been a 40pc increase in weekly case rates in Ipswich to 128 cases per 100,000 people compared to the week before.

The statement added: "Across Suffolk, case rates in over 60s are also falling (72/100,000). Positivity is 3.7pc."

For Cambridgeshire, the statement said: "An improving picture with decreasing case rates across five of the six local authorities, although the case rate is still high at 123/100,000 overall.

"Case rates in over 60s are also decreasing (58/100,000). Positivity has dropped to 5.2pc."

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