How do Tier 1 areas like Cornwall compare to Suffolk?

Southwold beach on another warm sunny day in October.

Southwold beach on another warm sunny day in October. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The whole of Suffolk is to be placed under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions despite all bar one areas of the county showing a decline in cases.

Only three areas of the country will be placed under the lowest “medium” restrictions, namely Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Their inclusion comes despite the fact that Mid Suffolk had a lower coronavirus case rate per 100,000 in the latest statistics available before health secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement yesterday.

Neighbouring authority areas West Suffolk and East Suffolk both also appear among the lowest in the UK for their case rates – although are slightly higher than those areas being placed in Tier 1.

Conversely, Ipswich and Babergh have both case rates of more than 100 per 100,000, which although puts them in the lowest 50% of authorities nationally, sees them rank comfortably within Tier 2.

The government explained their decision to place the areas under Tier 1 as cases in those areas have been stable or declining, while no cases had been recorded in the Isles of Scilly in the seven days before the tiers were announced.

Announcing the system in parliament, Matt Hancock – who is also the MP for West Suffolk – said he hopes Suffolk will move down to Tier 1 in future and added his constituency has the lowest case rate among the over 60s nationwide.

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Mr Hancock said: “Despite the fact Suffolk overall has the lowest case rate outside Cornwall and the Isle of Wight, our judgement, looking at all the indicators and based on public health advice, is that Suffolk needs to be in Tier 2 to get the virus further under control.”

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said he shares the disappointment of others that Suffolk is no longer a Tier 1 authority.

Mr Keeble said: “Suffolk has done well at keeping our infection rates lower than many other areas in the country, and for that, I would like to thank people for what they have done.

“The facts facing us today are clear however. With current infection rates and pressure being put in health services, we need to do more of what we have been doing. We need to stick with it.

“We know what we need to do to get Suffolk back on track. Every one of us needs to keep following the rules to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

“We need to ensure our hospitals can continue to care for people who urgently need help, including those without Covid. We need to be responsible today for a better tomorrow.”

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