WHEN the current England-wide lockdown ends on December 2, the country is due to be placed back into a system of regional tiered restrictions – but which tier will Oxfordshire be in?

Today the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has annoucned today how the new restrictions will work, and it is expected that the measures will be tougher and more areas will be placed in the highest level of restrictions, Tier 3.

Mr Johnson said in his speech to the House of Commons that coronavirus infection rates are flattening off across England as a result of the second lockdown.

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But he added that the nation is not out of the woods yet, and say: “"But with expansion in testing and vaccines edging closer to deployment, the regional tiered system will help get the virus back under control and keep it there.”

An announcement on which area will be placed in which tier is due to be made on Thursday.

Ahead of this, comparing the current rates of Covid infection in Oxfordshire with those before of the second lockdown may give an idea of which tier the county may be placed in.

Before the new lockdown began on Thursday, November 5, Oxford had just been placed into Tier 2 of the old system, which meant that people from the city were not allowed to visit different households, and could only go out to pubs and restaurants with people from their own home.

In the week ending October 23, ahead of the point the city was placed into Tier 2 there was an infection rate of 137.1 per 100,000 people.

Currently as of November 18, there is a rate of 152.8 in Oxford, down from 256.5 in the previous week, and the trends appears to be heading downward after a spike in the first few weeks of lockdown.

The rest of Oxfordshire was in Tier 1, which meant that people could still visit each other in their homes, or go out for meals and drinks together, but when they did leave home they had to stick to the so-called ‘Rule of Six’, meeting with no more than six other people.

In the week ending October 23, cases per 100,000 within the different districts of Oxfordshire were:

  • 151.5 in Cherwell
  • 92.2 in South Oxfordshire
  • 91.2 in Vale of White Horse
  • 109.4 in West Oxfordshire

As of the week ending November 18, the cases per 100,000 in the different districts are:

  • 111.0 in Cherwell (down from 168.8)
  • 109.1 in South Oxfordshire (down from 143.6)
  • 102.2 in the Vale of White Horse (down from 138.2
  • 94.0 in West Oxfordshire (down from 134.7)

The rate in all of these areas is also decreasing, and in Oxfordshire as a whole the rate is 128.4, much lower than the average rate across England of 239.9.

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Based on the current rates, all areas of Oxfordshire seem likely to be placed in the lowest tier of restrictions this Thursday.

However, even tier 1 restrictions might be stricter than they were previously.

The Conservative leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth, has previously pledged to ‘follow the scientific advice’ on any local restrictions following the English national lockdown.