Updated: York stays in the lowest Covid alert level – despite climbing rates

Boris Johnson makes his statement to the Commons today, flanked by Rishi Sunak. Photograph: House of Commons / PA Wire
12 Oct 2020 @ 5.46 pm
| News

York remains in the lowest alert level of coronavirus restrictions, City of York Council understands.

But rates of infection in the city have increased sharply in recent weeks – with the council saying the rate on October 9 was 200.36 cases per 100,000 people.

This afternoon the Prime Minister launched a three-tier system of local alert levels for England.

Johnson told MPs that the coming weeks and months would “test the mettle” of the country as it faced a second wave of Covid-19 cases.

Under the new arrangements:

  • The medium alert level will cover most of England and will consist of the current national measures, including the rule of six and the 10pm curfew.
  • The high alert level reflects interventions in many areas subject to local restrictions, preventing mixing between different households indoors.

Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into this category, as well as Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak.

  • The very high alert level will mean, at a minimum, the closure of pubs and bars and a ban on social mixing indoors and in private gardens.

Areas in the top tier will be able to impose extra restrictions, and in the Liverpool city region this will mean the closure of leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos.

This evening (Monday) City of York Council said: “Although it has not been officially confirmed by the Government, it is understood that York will remain at the medium level, meaning that there will be no additional restrictions, beyond the current national guidance, to be introduced for York’s residents and businesses.

“However, it is important to underline that York’s infection rate is rising significantly and the council continues to work with partners across the city to address this.

“City leaders have urged everyone to play their part to slow the spread of the virus and to avoid stricter restrictions in the future.

“The provisional rate for the last seven days of new Covid cases for every 100,000 people in York is 207.2. This is higher than the national average of 133.8, but lower than the regional average of 231.9.”

Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer, said: “At present I think the current national measures are appropriate to manage the virus within York but it is crucial that everyone adheres to guidelines by washing their hands when entering and exiting a venue, only meeting in groups of six or fewer, keeping socially distant, and wearing a mask when indoors.

“If we are vigilant, we can reduce transmission while continuing to enjoy socialising and allowing business to remain open.”

Labour’s Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, said: “A stronger public health approach is needed, the best people to lead this is local Directors of Public Health, they know their communities and the measures which will work best to control the virus in their locations.

“This must start with local control over the test and trace system. I will be meeting with the Health Minister later this week to discuss how York could lead the way in this.

”Missing from his statement was any mention of further economic support. Time is running out as the end of the month sees the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This is the pending crisis facing York and the local economy.”

The Prime Minister told MPs: “The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country.”

But he added: “I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed.”

Additional reporting: Chloe Laversuch, local democracy reporter