Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Slough to move in to Tier 2 restrictions, Health Secretary tells MPs

Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Slough will move into the Tier 2 “high” coronavirus level at one minute past midnight on Saturday, Matt Hancock told MPs.

The Health Secretary outlined the new measures for Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Slough, where he said there has been a rising rate of infections.

He told the Commons: “Unfortunately, we’re seeing rising rates of infection in Stoke-on-Trent, in Coventry and in Slough.

“In all of these areas, there are over 100 positive cases per 100,000 people. Cases are doubling around every fortnight and we’re seeing a concerning increase of cases among the over-60s.

“So we’ve agreed in partnership with local leaders to move these areas into the high local alert level, coming into force at one minute past midnight on Saturday.

“The central change is that people cannot now meet other households socially indoors. This applies in any setting, at home or in a restaurant or any other venue.

“The rule of six still applies to any outdoor setting and although you may continue to travel to open venues, you should reduce the number of journeys where possible.”

According to calculations by the PA news agency, Staffordshire city Stoke-on-Trent’s rate of new cases of Covid-19 was 185.7 per 100,000 people in the seven days to October 17, up from a rate of 113.5 in the seven days to October 10.

In the same time periods, Coventry, in the West Midlands, saw its rate rise from 160.4 new cases per 100,000 people to 180.1, while Slough, in Berkshire, saw its rate increase from 97.0 to 147.8.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said it had asked the Health Secretary to place the city of 250,000 people under harsher Tier 2 restrictions.

Council leader Abi Brown said in asking for the tougher measures and not “dithering for a week” she hoped to stem infections and head off “further escalation” to Tier 3 controls.