What coronavirus tier announcement means for the South West

A covid test centre site

The Government has announced the majority of the West Country will be placed in to Tier 2 or Tier 3 when the national lockdown ends.

This means most people in the South West will face tougher restrictions after lockdown than the ones they were living under before.

But what does it mean for the region? And what is the reaction likely to be from those in power?

ITV West Country's political correspondent David Wood reports...

Today's Tier announcement isn't a huge surprise as ministers had warned that they would be tougher than before lockdown, however many Conservative MPs are very angry about the fact most of the region has been placed into Tier 2.

For people across the region (except those in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) will face much tougher restrictions than before they went into lockdown.

The hope is that the recent fall in covid cases across many of the counties placed into the middle tier will mean that come the review in mid December that they could move down to the lowest tier. 

The hope would be that at the same time North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bristol could move down to the middle tier. 

Senior Government sources have told me that the concern in the South West generally is that hospital admissions have increased significantly in all parts of the region (apart from Cornwall) and although rates have fallen this week it is hospital capacity that is concerning them most. This comes as the Nightingale in Exeter has opened to Covid patients today

Exeter's Nightingale Hospital is opening today

These new restrictions will be voted through next week - however, I expect a number of West Country Conservatives to rebel and vote against them. There is a significant amount of anger amongst some of the Tory South West group who feel generally the rates here aren't high enough to justify the stricter sanctions of tier 2.

Despite the dissatisfaction I don't see the Government changing its mind over these tiers announced today. However, there will be huge pressure on them to lower the West Country's tiers soon if rates continue to fall, along with hospital admissions.

Whilst the South West still has lower rates generally than many other parts of the UK, it is clear the second wave is impacting the region far more than the first wave, with hospitals, especially in Bristol and Devon struggling with demand.

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