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Heat map shows where infections are surging as tier 3 lockdowns hit UK

Heat map showing where cases are rising as national circuit-breaker turned down
Cases are rising in the North West, North East and Midlands (Picture: COBR)

New heat maps lay bare where coronavirus cases are rising as more regions are plunged into a tier three lockdown.

The graphics show parts of the North West, North East and Midlands are experiencing the fastest growth in the virus, while rates in the south remain low.

The data was presented at a Downing Street press conference that saw Boris Johnson force Greater Manchester into the strictest level of lockdown following a bitter row over the bailout package.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam opened the briefing by presenting a purple map which showed coronavirus case rates per 100,000 in the week ending October 7.

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Comparing this with figures last week he said: ‘You can clearly see that the dark purple problem area has extended from coast to coast now and extends quite a long way down the country.’

Another map highlighting the geographical spread of Covid-19 in England reflected the rate of change. Areas in green show where cases are falling while areas in brown show where cases are rising.

Also comparing this with the same graph last week, Prof Van Tam said: ‘There are more patches of green, indicating a negative rate of change, as much as there are new patches of dark brown, such as in Lincolnshire.’

Heat map showing where cases are rising as national circuit-breaker turned down
The darker purple areas, reflecting the highest rates of coronavirus, have spread since last week (Picture: COBR)
Heat map showing rate change per 100,000
This map shows how fast cases are rising (Picture: COBR)

Prof Van-Tam branded the findings ‘pretty stark’ and said the most worrying aspect is the increased rate of change in over 60s, as they are more likely to become severely ill with a Covid-19 infection.

‘They’re more likely to be admitted to hospital, if they are admitted they’re there longer, and sadly they’re more difficult to save,’ he said.

The government adviser added that infections seeded in younger people when restrictions were lifted ‘are now penetrating older age groups as we go forward in time’.

He added: ‘This means hospital admissions and deaths sadly linked to those cases are now baked in for next two to three weeks.’

Heat map showing where cases are rising as national circuit-breaker turned down
Cases are rising fastest in the over 60s age group (Picture: COBR)

More areas are set to face tier three restrictions amid the growth in cases, but Labour has questioned the effectiveness of regional lockdowns, calling for a short-term national one instead.

But at Tuesday’s briefing, Prof Van-Tam said low infection rates in Southern England mean that a national lockdown would be ineffective and would inflict unnecessary economic damage.

He said: ‘We are trying to walk a very fine line between getting the virus under control in areas where it is out of control and incurring the minimum amount of economic damage in doing so.

‘In areas where it is out of control hard measures are needed.

‘But do I think right now it is appropriate to insist on those similar hard measures in, for example, the South West of England or Kent, where levels of the disease are very, very much lower than in the North of England – the national firebreak you talked about? No, I don’t think that is right.

‘I don’t think that is consistent with the epidemiological picture that we are seeing.’

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The Government has been accused of imposing ‘lockdown on the cheap’ in areas of the north that were first to face the gravest level of restrictions.

Yesterday Boris Johnson announced Greater Manchester will be awarded £22 million to support the region through the latest round of closures as part of a ‘comprehensive package of support’.

It is a stark contrast to the ‘bare minimum’ of £65 million requested by Mayor Andy Burnham to ‘protect the poorest’. He called No 10’s package ‘brutal’, while Labour ministers called it an ‘utter disgrace’ and that they ‘have never seen anything like it’.

A woman wearing a face mask walks through Manchester
Manchester has been forced into a tier three lockdown following a row over financial support (Picture: PA)

The Liverpool City Region and Lancashire, which both have smaller populations that Greater Manchester, were given £42 and £41 million respectively.

Today it was announced that South Yorkshire will also be plunged into a tier three lockdown on Friday. The region was hit with the strictest measures after local leaders agreed a £42 million bailout package with the Government.

Tier three means a total ban on indoor household mixing, while pubs and bars will be forced to close unless they offer ‘substantial’ meals.

Regional leaders in the north have called on their southern counterparts to support their calls for better funding, warning all areas are likely to face third tier restrictions at some point.

The UK’s approach is in stark contrast to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, which have all imposed some form of a short-term national lockdown.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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