Nottingham avoids tier 3 restrictions despite having UK's highest infection rate
Nottingham has been spared the toughest level of local restrictions despite having had the highest coronavirus infection rate in the country for five days running.
The new Covid alert system classes areas as ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ depending on a range of factors including the number of new cases and hospital capacity.
The city has been moved under the second tier of restrictions meaning people from different households are banned from mixing indoors.
Yet Liverpool, which has recorded fewer cases per capita in the past week, will go into tier three restrictions on Wednesday, with pubs, restaurants, gyms and some other businesses forced to close.
A total of 2,777 new cases were recorded in Nottingham in the week leading to October 9, equivalent to around 834 cases per 100,000 people.
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The figures are almost double the new cases in the previous seven days, which amounted to about 426 cases per 100,000 people.
The city is well ahead of the area with the second-highest rate, Knowsley, Merseyside, which is on about 657 cases per 100,000 people.
Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen said: ‘My understanding is that there are two reasons the city hasn’t been placed into tier three.
‘The first is that our hospitals aren’t currently at that level. There is a great deal of preparation going on, but they’re not full.
‘The second is that the cases haven’t spread in large numbers to the older population. Most of our cases are currently among younger people.
‘Obviously there’s every likelihood younger people will get Covid in a less severe way – not that that’s anything to be complacent about because there are young people who get it very badly – but obviously the greater concern is for people who are older or have underlying health conditions.’
Case numbers published on the University of Nottingham website show 1,510 of its students had been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the week ending October 9, suggesting well over half of the city’s outbreak is among the young.
Authorities may also favour tougher restrictions on areas with longer consistent outbreaks, with areas of Merseyside having topped the UK for weeks before Nottingham pulled clear in recent days.
A spokesperson for the university said they were taking extra steps to urge students to stop mixing between households, while Nottinghamshire Police’s chief constable said the force would ‘not hesitate to fine people and take any other necessary action’ if anyone ignored the new measures.
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