The criteria for areas to move down a Tier changed as the government upped its caution levels around Covid-19 according to the Midlands mayor.
Speaking at the weekly West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) coronavirus press briefing held today (Friday December 18), Andy Street said the situation had changed from last week.
At last week’s briefing he said Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull had “a strong case” to move into Tier 2.
But Mr Street also said that numbers had changed, with infection rates rising, as had the Government criteria.
He said: “The rates in Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull were very low.
“We had very good reason to believe a decision would be favourable but things moved against us and the national backdrop moved.
“The Government became more cautious and what happened was the Government lowered the threshold for what you had to do to get to Tier 2.
“But yes, I was disappointed.”
Rates in Coventry have crept up from 128.39 per 100,000 people in the seven days to December 6 to 169.84 in the seven days to December 13.
It is believed the government were reluctant to lower tiers, particularly with rates rising, and ahead of a five-day relaxation of the rules next week to allow families to celebrate Christmas.
But civic leaders have been at pains to urge people to be sensible over Christmas and keep contact with loved-ones to a minimum.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, the leader of Warwickshire County Council, was one those on the panel for the latest briefing today.
Like Coventry, Warwickshire had seen falling numbers in recent weeks.
Areas to the North of the county such as Nuneaton and Bedworth and North Warwickshire had seen significant falls in numbers.
But in recent days, rates in the south of the county had begun to climb.
Cllr Seccombe spoke of her disappointment at Warwickshire not being moved out of Tier 3 in to Tier 2 this week in the latest reappraisal of the tier system by the Government.
She also gave a clearer picture of the fast changing picture across the county.
Cllr Seccombe said: “It has been a disappointing outcome but it really is a marathon and we are at the 18-mile post.
“We are hitting the wall but have to fight through now the end is in sight and hope is there.
“We really have to get to the end.”
As many political leaders and medical experts urge people to demonstrate caution at Christmas Cllr Seccombe echoed that call and said: “Christmas is coming and so many people would say that just because you can doesn’t mean you have to go mad.”
Speaking about a gift everyone can give this Christmas she added: “The best gift you can give is hope for the future and not spread the virus.
“This is one day, one day – and I hope we have a lifetime after that.”
As far as the news the county was staying in Tier 3 and the changing pattern across it Cllr Seccombe said: “I can say that I was full of hope that we were going to be considered to go into Tier 2. It was all really positive.
“But we all know how much this moves in a week and have seen an increase in South Warwickshire.
“This time a week ago, actually a little earlier, we saw some very high numbers in North Warwickshire and Nuneaton but they started to come down.
“But by last week they had more than halved in North Warwickshire, which was fantastic.
“Rugby, Warwick and Stratford were doing very well.
“Stratford at one point had got down to 45 per 100,000.”
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She added: “There was so much optimism about going down to Tier 2 and opening up our hospitality sector, particularly in Stratford, which has been devastated.
“So much has been going on, particularly in South Warwickshire. In Stratford the numbers are now 100, which is low comparably.
“But every day this week numbers have increased where now the highest area in the county is Warwick – somewhere in the 180s per 100,000.”
Cllr Seccombe said with numbers going upwards it was “important to stop it”.
She said: “Most concerning is the 60 plus age group in all districts going up, with the exception of Nuneaton.”
During the WMCA briefing Cllr Seccombe also shared some “good news” regarding the vaccine programme and the number of care home staff vaccinated in Coventry and Warwickshire.
She said: “I know in Warwickshire and Coventry there have been a great deal of our care home staff who have been vaccinated.
“There are 750 so far who have been given the vaccine, which is very good news for trying to keep down the infections in our area.”
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