Revealed: The 60 areas of England where COVID rates are decreasing

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·6 min read
A Tier 2 High Alert sign the High street in Winchester, Hampshire. Downing Street has said that restrictions measures over the Christmas period were being kept under "constant review" in response to suggestions that the Christmas arrangements could be restricted to three days or two households. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
A Tier 2 High Alert sign in Winchester, Hampshire. (Getty)

As more of England was plunged into Tier 3 restrictions – with just one area leaving it – new figures revealed the regions where COVID-19 rates are on the decline.

On Thursday, numerous areas of the East and South East were moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3, while just Bristol and North Somerset was moved down to Tier 2 and Herefordshire to Tier 1.

However, the latest data showed that while 255 (81%) of the 315 local areas in England have seen a rise in case rates, there are a total of 60 (19%) that have seen a fall.

The figures, for the seven days to 12 December, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).

Pedestrians wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walk past an electronic COVID-19 information sign in Walthamstow in north east London, on December 15, 2020. - Two leading British medical journals urged the government Tuesday to scrap plans to ease coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, warning it would be "another major error that will cost many lives". The British capital faces tougher Covid-19 measures within days, the UK government said on Monday, with a new coronavirus variant emerging as a possible cause for rapidly rising infection rates. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Pedestrians wearing a face mask walk past an electronic COVID-19 information sign in Walthamstow in north-east London. (Getty)
Upper Tier Local Authority rates across central and east England. (Open Street Map)
Upper Tier Local Authority rates across central and east England. (Open Street Map)
Upper Tier Local Authority rates across the north of England. (Open Street Map)
Upper Tier Local Authority rates across the north of England. (Open Street Map)

More than 34 million people, or 61% of England’s population, were already living under the strictest COVID measures after London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire moved into Tier 3 on Wednesday.

The latest announcement means 38 million – 68% of England’s population – will be living under Tier 3 restrictions, according to Sky News.

Swale in Kent continues to have the highest rate in England, with 1,114 new cases recorded in the seven days to 12 December – the equivalent of 742.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Watch: Tier review unlikely to spread much festive cheer

This is up from 625.0 in the seven days to 5 December.

Medway, also in Kent, has the second highest rate, up from 605.6 to 734.9, with 2,047 new cases.

Basildon in Essex is in third place, where the rate has risen sharply from 442.3 to 713.1, with 1,335 new cases.

The areas with the biggest week-on-week jumps are Thurrock (up from 255.2 to 601.7, with 1,049 new cases); Ashford (up from 259.2 to 599.9, with 780 new cases); and Epping Forest (up from 249.8 to 552.1, with 727 new cases).

The review comes after Boris Johnson insisted he did not want to “cancel” Christmas, but said people should prepare for a “smaller, safer” festive period amid fears about the spread of coronavirus.

Confirming the so-called “Christmas window” allowing three households to join together between 23 and 27 December would go ahead, the prime minister said people would be left to make individual judgments on whether festive celebrations were worth the risk, with warnings to avoid elderly relatives and a recommendation to isolate beforehand.

Commenting on the government's Christmas stance, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, said: “If the government is going to stick with its current approach to the Christmas regulations, it must also ensure that its decisions on which area is in which tier are as robust as possible.

Upper Tier Local Authority rates across southern England. (Open Street Map)
Upper Tier Local Authority rates across southern England. (Open Street Map)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street on December 16, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson has refused to scrap the easing of COVID regulations at Christmas. (Getty)

“That means no delay in adding any area to Tier 3 that needs to be in that tier, and no premature removal of any area from it, either.”

Below is the full list of the areas in England which have seen a decrease in COVID rates for the seven days to 12 December.

From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; the tier of COVID-19 restrictions in which the local authority is currently placed; rate of new cases in the seven days to 12 December; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to 12 December; rate of new cases in the seven days to 5 December; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to 5 December).

The figures are expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people:

NORTH EAST

  • Hartlepool, Tier 3, 223.1, (209), 231.7, (217)

  • Darlington, Tier 3, 179.8, (192), 191.9, (205)

  • Sunderland, Tier 3, 153.0, (425), 163.1, (453)

  • Redcar and Cleveland, Tier 3, 135.6, (186), 140.0, (192)

  • North Tyneside, Tier 3, 129.9, (270), 142.4, (296)

YORKSHIRE

  • Doncaster, Tier 3, 187.9, (586), 214.8, (670)

  • Hull, Tier 3, 187.1, (486), 200.6, (521)

  • Bradford, Tier 3, 176.0, (950), 192.9, (1041)

  • Kirklees, Tier 3, 165.3, (727), 184.0, (809)

  • Wakefield, Tier 3, 160.8, (560), 169.4, (590)

  • Calderdale, Tier 3, 158.9, (336), 192.5, (407)

  • Leeds, Tier 3, 138.3, (1097), 143.5, (1138)

  • East Riding of Yorkshire, Tier 3, 136.0, (464), 148.0, (505)

  • Craven, Tier 2, 110.3, (63), 136.5, (78)

  • Harrogate, Tier 2, 81.5, (131), 97.6, (157)

  • Hambleton, Tier 2, 49.1, (45), 64.4, (59)

NORTH WEST

  • Pendle, Tier 3, 262.7, (242), 280.1, (258)

  • Blackburn with Darwen, Tier 3, 237.1, (355), 263.2, (394)

  • Rossendale, Tier 3, 221.0, (158), 228.0, (163)

  • Rochdale, Tier 3, 206.8, (460), 215.4, (479)

  • Bury, Tier 3, 204.7, (391), 227.2, (434)

  • Wigan, Tier 3, 178.3, (586), 187.4, (616)

  • South Ribble, Tier 3, 174.2, (193), 179.6, (199)

  • Bolton, Tier 3, 146.4, (421), 165.9, (477)

  • Halton, Tier 2, 119.8, (155), 126.0, (163)

  • St Helens, Tier 2, 119.1, (215), 129.6, (234)

  • Barrow-in-Furness, Tier 2, 110.4, (74), 123.8, (83)

  • Stockport, Tier 3, 107.7, (316), 114.9, (337)

  • Tameside, Tier 3, 91.4, (207), 119.7, (271)

  • Allerdale, Tier 2, 62.4, (61), 67.5, (66)

  • Copeland, Tier 2, 17.6, (12), 38.1, (26)

MIDLANDS

  • Stoke-on-Trent, Tier 3, 321.8, (825), 323.0, (828)

  • Oadby and Wigston, Tier 3, 238.5, (136), 303.4, (173)

  • Bassetlaw, Tier 3, 232.4, (273), 257.1, (302)

  • North Kesteven, Tier 3, 215.5, (252), 272.8, (319)

  • Sandwell, Tier 3, 202.2, (664), 213.1, (700)

  • South Kesteven, Tier 3, 196.6, (280), 197.3, (281)

  • Newcastle-under-Lyme, Tier 3, 190.8, (247), 203.2, (263)

  • Walsall, Tier 3, 185.0, (528), 196.2, (560)

  • East Lindsey, Tier 3, 176.4, (250), 177.1, (251)

  • Nuneaton and Bedworth, Tier 3, 164.8, (214), 182.5, (237)

  • Lichfield, Tier 3, 157.5, (165), 166.1, (174)

  • North Lincolnshire, Tier 3, 149.2, (257), 174.1, (300)

  • Tamworth, Tier 3, 138.2, (106), 146.0, (112)

  • Erewash, Tier 3, 126.5, (146), 127.4, (147)

  • Chesterfield, Tier 3, 124.9, (131), 133.5, (140)

  • North East Lincolnshire, Tier 3, 115.9, (185), 153.5, (245)

  • Redditch, Tier 2, 106.7, (91), 107.9, (92)

  • Derbyshire Dales, Tier 3, 71.9, (52), 80.2, (58)

  • Malvern Hills, Tier 2, 58.5, (46), 63.5, (50)

  • Worcester, Tier 2, 70.1, (71), 82.0, (83)

EAST/SOUTH EAST

  • Runnymede, Tier 2, 213.6, (191), 289.6, (259)

  • South Norfolk, Tier 2, 98.0, (138), 109.3, (154)

  • North Norfolk, Tier 2, 61.0, (64), 73.4, (77)

SOUTH WEST

  • Bristol, Tier 3, 120.4, (558), 128.0, (593)

  • Exeter, Tier 2, 93.6, (123), 95.9, (126)

  • West Devon, Tier 2, 87.8, (49), 95.0, (53)

  • Bath and North East Somerset, Tier 2, 80.2, (155), 113.3, (219)

  • Torridge, Tier 2, 55.7, (38), 74.7, (51)

  • South Hams, Tier 2, 34.5, (30), 35.6, (31)

Watch: The COVID dos and don’ts of Christmas this year