The government has published a chart showing which areas in the country are close to the boundary between layers – meaning they can go down or up before Christmas.
On Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that 99 percent of England has been placed in Tier Two or Tier Three.
Those areas have tighter restrictions, limiting everything from mixing households and family gatherings to how and whether pubs and restaurants can operate.
Now the government’s Joint Biosecurity Center has produced a chart published by the Department for Health – showing exactly where each area is on a scale.
The graph shows which places are close to the boundaries between the levels, meaning they could go down – or up – one level when the system is revised in mid-December.
Areas falling out of Tier Three may then open pubs and restaurants.
Areas falling out of Level Two would be allowed to drink in a pub without ordering a meal, and more people would be allowed to go to outdoor events and sports.
At the moment, only Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight are in Tier One – with the Isle of Wight closest to the upper limit.
Suffolk is the lowest in Tier Two on the map, indicating that if the contamination rate continues to drop, it could drop to Tier 1 before Christmas.
Slightly higher in Tier Two, but close to the Tier One border are Norfolk, Rutland, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire – with Dorset, Devon and Wiltshire not much higher.
At the top of Tier Two Cheshire, North Yorkshire and Shrophsire are close to the Tier Three border.
Areas just in Level Three that could have restrictions relaxed for Christmas are Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Kent – with Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire not far behind.
The current levels will take effect on December 2.
More than 55 million people will be placed in Tier 2 and Tier 3 measures on December 2, meaning that indoor household mixing will be effectively banned for the vast majority of the country.
Large areas of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive Tier 3, which accounts for 41.5% of the population, or 23.3 million people.
The majority of authorities – including London – will be in Tier 2, which will cover 57.3% of the country or 32 million people.
Five factors primarily determine the restrictions in each area
– detection rates of cases in all age groups;
– the number of cases of detection in the over-60s;
– the speed at which cases rise or fall;
– the positivity rate – the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of the tests administered;
– and pressure on the NHS, including current and forecast occupancy.
The government has said it should maintain flexibility to weigh the indicators – for example, whether hospital capacity in neighboring areas is lower.
Another example provided in the Coronavirus Winter Plan is that the detection rates of cases must be weighed against whether the spread of the virus is localized in particular communities.
The plan states “given these sensitivities, it is not possible to set rigid thresholds for these indicators as this would lead to worse decisions”.
The first assessment of the levels is scheduled for December 16.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a briefing in Downing Street that the allocation of levels will be revised every 14 days from that date, and suggested that massive testing could exempt households from restrictions.
He said, “Now testing on this scale has not been attempted, but over time, if it works, where people test negative, it may also be possible that families and communities will be released from certain restrictions, even if their home area is in level 3. remains. “
Former Secretary of State Tobias Ellwood said the government should use up-to-date data to make decisions about the new restrictions. He noted that the information used to line up different areas would be over a week old by the time they are imposed.
He also called for outlining the criteria and justification for the level system so that people “better understand” what it takes to get out of a more difficult level.
He told BBC Breakfast Friday, “I think clarity in communication is so important right now.”
Community Secretary Robert Jenrick insists there is “every reason” to expect some areas to be moved to a lower level by December 16.
He said the government, advised by the experts, would look to any area of the local authorities to see if there are any options for movement.
He told Sky News, “There were some places with very balanced judgments where they were on the brink of different levels. Those are the places that are likely to be in that position. “
In contrast, Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), warned “that it is a fairly early time to see the effect.”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, “I can’t imagine any major changes happening at that point, simply because I don’t think we have collected much data by then.”
In Level 1, the rule of six inside and out applies, people are urged to work from home when they can, and pubs are limited to table service.
In Level 2, the restrictions include a ban on households to mix indoors, while pubs and restaurants are only allowed to sell alcohol with a “hearty meal”.
Level 3 measures prohibit the mixing of households except in limited circumstances such as in parks.
Bars and restaurants are limited to takeout or delivery services and people will be advised not to travel outside of their area.
Shops and schools will remain open in all neighborhoods.