Vigilance called for as Telford set to be moved into Tier 2 'high risk' category

People across Shropshire have been urged to stick to coronavirus restrictions, with Telford today expected to be moved up into the "high risk" tier.

Telford is expected to be designated a tier 2 'high risk' area
Telford is expected to be designated a tier 2 'high risk' area

Telford & Wrekin is today expected to be moved into the next tier of the government's coronavirus restrictions.

The move from Tier 1 into Tier 2, which is set to be confirmed by government ministers in parliament, comes after recommendations from public health officials and scientists, amid a significant rise in cases.

Under the measures people will no longer be able to socialise indoors with people not in their household or support bubble – whether in homes, pubs or restaurants.

People will be able to meet outdoors but only in groups of six.

The daily number of positive coronavirus tests in Telford & Wrekin since September 1. Data: Public Health England
The daily number of positive coronavirus tests in the Shropshire Council area since September 1. Data: Public Health England

The Shropshire Council area will remain in Tier 1, but the authority's health officials have also issued a stark warning that the rate of increase needs to fall or it will also be facing more stringent restrictions.

It comes after infections jumped significantly in Telford & Wrekin, with the current number of cases per 100,000 people, one of the measures used to decide which tier areas are place in, at 200.7 for the seven days up to October 22.

The Shropshire rate is currently around half that of Telford & Wrekin, at 106 cases per 100,000 people.

In the seven days up to October 25 there were 380 positive tests in Telford & Wrekin, compared to 277 in the seven days up to October 18.

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The number of Covid patients in county hospitals is also increasing with 29 currently being treated at either Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital Telford, compared to 10 on October 1.

Yesterday Wales, which is currently in the midst of a national 'firebreak' lockdown for two weeks, also recorded its highest amount of coronavirus deaths in a single day since April, with 37 in the previous 24 hours.

'Difficult balance' says MP

Mark Pritchard, MP for the Wrekin, said: "This is not good news for local businesses or for many families, but the strong advice from health officials is that it is the only way to reduce the increasing level of local infections.

"It is a very difficult balance between trying to save lives while safeguarding livelihoods.

"However, this Tier 2 phase, where we are having new restrictions, does not have as many restrictions as the previous so-called national lockdown.

"The sooner we get infection rates down the sooner people and businesses can get back to life as normal.

"Let's all hope and pray the vaccine will be available soon."

Shaun Davies is the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council

Shaun Davies, Labour leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said that action had to be taken to address the number of cases.

He said: "We have seen significant increases in Covid cases over the past couple of week, and cases among the over 60s are also significantly rising and the number of people being admitted into hospital and ITU (intensive care units) are increasing significantly, and sadly as we have seen, a number of people have died over the past few days.

"Therefore the only way to bring these numbers down in terms of the current government framework is to move to Tier 2.

"It is a big change for our communities and I know it will affect families in very real ways. However, we need to rally together as a community to get our numbers down. Tier 2 is not somewhere we need to continue to be.

"If we can get the numbers down we can make a strong argument to the government to move us back into Tier 1, and I hope that will happen in the coming weeks.

"But for now we must all do our best to get these numbers down and follow the government rules."

The region's crime commissioner, John Campion, said he was satisfied the police would have resources to cope with any extra demands as a result of Telford moving into Tier 2.

He said: “I have been monitoring rising infection rates in Telford along with partners. I am reassured that West Mercia Police are fully focused on supporting that partnership effort in the borough, to continue to support communities to do the right thing and follow social distancing regulations and guidelines.

"I am reassured that the police has the resources it needs to do this effectively, including the additional £466k from Government to support Covid-19 enforcement.”

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