Local authorities across England could see their coronavirus risk category de-escalated before Christmas as part of a mid-December review period, UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Friday.
“At that point we — advised by the experts — will look at each local authority area in the country and see whether they should remain in their existing tier or whether there is potential to move down the tiers,” Jenrick said in an interview with Sky News.
“There are a number of places which were quite finely balanced judgements, where they were on the cusp of different tiers, so those are the places which are perhaps more likely to be in that position.”
But Jenrick cautioned that any adjustments to local tiers would require careful consideration, highlighting the potential for local infection rates to rise over the holiday period.
“There will be an opening over the Christmas period which is likely to drive some higher rates of infection, if some people choose to meet family and friends for Christmas Day and the days surrounding it, so we have to bear that in mind,” Jenrick said.
“What we don’t want to do is ease up too quickly and then find that in January we’re having to put tiers back in place again,” he added.
The updated tier system includes tougher restrictions. London will be placed in the tier 2 “high alert” risk category, while cities including Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Bristol will be placed in the highest tier 3 “very high alert” category.
A review of the national tier system is expected to take place on or around Dec. 16