Gillingham is to stay under Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions along with the rest of Dorset, the government has announced.
Wiltshire, too, will stay as a Tier 2 area though neighbouring Somerset will enter Tier 3 restrictions from Boxing Day.
Dr Jane Horne, Consultant in Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils said: ‘Our case numbers of people testing positive to Covid-19 are rising across both council areas. It is vital people follow all the rules set out by the Government so that we don’t see even further increases. We know that social mixing leads to higher transmission rates. I’d urge everyone to think carefully about meeting up with others this Christmas, particularly with those who are more vulnerable. Covid isn’t going away, and although priority groups are starting to be vaccinated, it will take a while before this has an effect and we can resume more normal activities.’
Several factors are considered when looking at the tier system. Along with headline infection rates, the government also looks at the infection rate in older people, the impact on the care sector and pressure on local hospitals – all of which continue to be a concern in both council areas.
Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council said: ‘2020 has been tough and unprecedented year for everyone. With the exception of Christmas Day, Dorset has remained in tier 2 restrictions following the review earlier this month. This is disappointing but on balance the right decision for Dorset. It’s vital that we all continue to follow these guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Dorset. This will help to contain the case rates which have risen sharply in the past two weeks, and assist our hospitals in maintaining adequate bed capacity and don’t become overstretched during the winter months so they can continue to deliver the best care for those who really need medical treatment in this difficult time.’
Councillor Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID resilience and Public Health: ‘Not changing tier does not mean we can be complacent. It means we must continue making the efforts needed to contain the virus and protect the lives of those we care about, and ourselves. Coronavirus continues to spread in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Thank you to everyone for being responsible, staying home as much as possible, continuing with basic hands, face, space behaviours, and really limiting physical contact with those outside your household or support bubble. I know it is especially difficult to do that at this time of year, and do share the sadness of not being able to hug loved ones or even meet friends for a drink. But it really is vital that we keep going if we are to reverse the trend once again.’