The latest coronavirus figures for Brighton and Hove show that the number of cases has continued to increase.
The rise takes the rate of new cases – the number of covid cases per 100,000 people – beyond the level that persuaded the government to place Brighton and Hove under tier 4 restrictions.
The 659 cases confirmed in the week to Saturday 19 December was the equivalent of 226.6 per 100,000 people.
This was more than double the 297 cases in the week to Saturday 12 December, equal to a rate of 102.1 per 100,000 people.
And in the week to Tuesday 1 December the rate of new confirmed cases was just 59 per 100,000 people.
Brighton and Hove is still in the bottom half of the table nationally for the rate of new cases of covid-19 – but only just.
And there have been no deaths from the virus in the hospitals run by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust in the past five days and two over the week to Tuesday (22 December).
The trust runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, in Brighton, and the Princess Royal Hospital, in Haywards Heath.
But yesterday (Wednesday 23 December) Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that Brighton and Hove would be under tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day.
From a minute after midnight it will mean that pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops must shut and that households can no longer mix.
Tier 4 includes the strictest rules as part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus, in particular a new mutant variant that appears to be spreading more quickly.
The restrictions are similar to those imposed on the whole country in late March although now there is no time limit on how long people can be outside with a reasonable excuse, including to shop for essentials and exercise.
And two people from different households are allowed to meet in a public open space.
Schools will also remain open, and childcare and other support bubbles are allowed.
Mr Hancock said yesterday that almost as many people were in hospital as at the peak of the spring outbreak.
The three-tier system had been enough to contain the virus, he said, but it was not enough to stop the spread of the new variant.
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