Lancaster MP 'not backing' a move to Tier 2 restrictions despite some areas showing Covid-19 is 'suppressed'

Lancaster MP Cat Smith has said 'with a heavy heart' she will not make a case for the district to be moved into Tier 2 of the government's Covid-19 restrictions.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 2:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 3:18 pm

The infection rate for Lancaster on Tuesday evening stood at 133.5 per 100,000 (based on a rolling seven day figure) - with the England average being 195.4.

This has increased slightly in recent days - although parts of the district are recording much lower than national average rates.

A government interactive map shows that many parts of the district - in particular the Lune Valley - showed fewer than three coronavirus cases in the week up to December 8.

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Lancaster MP Cat Smith has said 'with a heavy heart' she will not make a case for the district to be moved into Tier 2 of the government's Covid-19 restrictions.

Halton and Caton, Hornby, Wray, the Kellets, Quernmore, Wennington and north as far as Leck show fewer than three cases, which means, in the government's view, Covid-19 has been suppressed in these areas.

These areas have lower cases rates than bordering areas in Cumbria, which is in Tier 2.

The government is expected to make its latest announcement on the tiered restrictions on Thursday following a meeting between the Prime Minister and fellow ministers today.

London, parts of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire were moved into Tier 3 ahead of the review, in response to a worrying spike in cases.

The government is expected to make its latest announcement on the tiered restrictions on Thursday following a meeting between the Prime Minister and fellow ministers today. Photo by Tom Morbey.

The rest of the country is now waiting to discover its fate.

That announcement will likely first be made in the House of Commons, before a televised press conference later in the day.

Lancashire's public health boss Dr Sakthi Karunanithi has recommended that the county remains in Tier 3 and Lancaster MP Cat Smith has also said she is no longer backing any calls for the Lancaster district to be moved into Tier 2.

"Ten days away from Christmas and the infection rates are going up, this isn’t good," she said. "I know it’s difficult, and I miss my friends and family too, but please try and remember the virus spreads through social contact.

"I’ve had many messages from constituents asking me to make the case for moving the Lancaster and Wyre districts into Tier 2. And I have agreed with you, until now.

"But with infection rates on the rise it is with a heavy heart that I stop making the case I’ve been making for the past two weeks.

"Please everyone, stay home as much as you can, wash hands, wear face coverings and let’s get these rates back down again. when we get these rates back down I can make the case for relaxing the restrictions none of us want."

The government's plans for a 'Christmas bubble' system is still expected to go ahead, but may see some changes to its original outline.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths from coronavirus across Morecambe Bay hospitals has reached 349.

Three deaths were recorded by NHS England on Wednesday, bringing the total in the last seven days to 20 - with five recorded on Tuesday alone.

The deaths are recorded when someone has died after testing positive for coronavirus within the last 28 days at hospitals run by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, with the numbers roughly split between the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital in Barrow.

These figures do not include deaths outside hospital, such as those in care homes.