Norfolk, Rossendale and Northampton have been added to the UK Government’s Coronavirus watchlist as ‘areas of enhanced support’, while Leeds, South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering have been added to the watchlist as areas of concern.
The changes on Friday come as the number of Coronavirus cases in these areas has been rising recently.
‘Areas of concern’ are those where local authorities work with partners supported by regional Public Health England and NHS Test & Trace resources to take additional actional actions to manage outbreaks.
‘Areas of enhanced support’ are those where the government will work with local authorities to provide additional resources such as more testing, as part of efforts to try and help reduce the number of Coronavirus infections and to stop it from spreading further. The higher level of the watchlist is ‘areas of intervention’.
While some areas have newly become areas of concern, some other areas have now been removed from the watchlist. Based on the latest data, Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield are to be removed from the watchlist.
Restrictions on households mixing indoors continue in some areas of intervention, including Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Leicester and West Yorkshire. However, a number of venues that have been open in most parts of the country, except local lockdown areas, will soon be able to reopen.
From 12.01 am on Tuesday 8 September, indoor swimming pools, fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports courts and facilities will be allowed to reopen in areas where they remain closed including in parts of Leicester, Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford, which saw their venues closed while they opened in most others parts of the country from 25 July.
Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas will be able to reopen in Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester (except Bolton) from the same time on Tuesday. For now, these venues will though remain closed in Leicester, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton and Bradford.
In the last week for the areas on the Government’s watchlist, Pendle had the highest weekly case rate per 100,000 people at 71.1. Meanwhile, Corby and Oldham had rates over 50, and Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Rocholde and Manchester had rates at 40 or above.
In Norfolk, the whole county has now been classified as an area for enhanced support, despite some parts of the county having very low weekly case rates. North Norfolk has a weekly case rate of 0, but is still on the list, while Broadland, South Norfolk and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk all have rates under 5. The measures being taken in Norfolk come almost solely due to an outbreak at Banham Poultry Farm where more than 100 workers tested positive for the virus.
In a tweet, Norfolk County Council said;
Following the Coronavirus outbreak at Banham Poultry, the Government has made Norfolk an area of enhanced support, we’d like to reassure you that this is all about support, not restrictions. There will not be extra rules that affect how we live and work in Norfolk.
Despite the number of virus infections trending up in some areas of England, data from NHS Trusts has shown that the weekly admissions rates for both hospitalisations and ICU admissions of COVID-19 patients in England decreased slightly in the last week. The rate for hospitalisation was 0.47 per 100,000 people, while the ICU admission rate was just 0.06 per 100,000.