As Covid-19 case numbers and pressures on local hospitals both continue to rise, Portsmouth is set to move in Tier 3 from after the Government review announced yesterday. Cases of coronavirus infection across Portsmouth have risen by 42% since 8 December, and our 7-day rates per 100k of our population is double that of Southampton.
This means that Tier 3 restriction and guidance should be followed from the Saturday 19 December in a bid to help drive down infection rates, the number of people needing hospital care as the winter pressures on local hospitals and the NHS is mounting.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council says: “The social and geographical differences in Portsmouth compared to elsewhere in the county means our coronavirus case rates have climbed, so we have to move into Tier 3 with all the restrictions that come with this ‘Very High’ alert level. Portsmouth has shown time and time again this year that by acting together, we can slow the spread of this disease, so I have every faith that we can do it again. We have to.
“I know the NHS, including Queen Alexandra hospital in Cosham and local GPs, have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep treating people. They have done an exceptional job, but with cases rising and the hospital under increasing pressure, they need our help again – they’re asking, and I am asking, everyone to stick to the rules to keep the number of people who become poorly and need their care as low as possible for the next few months while we all get vaccinated against this terrible disease.”
Tier 3 Very High coronavirus restrictions, which apply in Portsmouth from Saturday 19 December include:
- do not mix with other households indoors, apart from people in your support bubble.
- you must not mix socially outdoors in private gardens or some public outdoor spaces and in outdoor spaces where you are able to meet people this should be limited to six people
- places of worship are open, but cannot interact with anyone outside household or support bubble when you attend
- you must wear a face covering in areas where this is required
- hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha bars), pubs, cafes, restaurants, and social clubs will be close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services.
Helen Atkinson Director or Public Health Portsmouth City Council says: “As we now find ourselves in Tier 3 in the run up to Christmas we must pause and consider our plans for the festive period, and although the Government has set out rules that allow up to three households to mix over the Christmas period, this is the absolute limit of what is allowed – we can choose to do less. I’m not asking anyone to cancel Christmas – I recognise the importance of seeing friends and family at this time of year for people’s wellbeing, but to just to stop and think about the risks we may be taking.
“We know being indoors and proximity to people are the things that help the virus to spread, so I ask everyone to think carefully about the impact their Christmas plans will have on family, friends and loved ones. Sticking to the rules and being vigilant now could prevent an even larger spike of cases in January and February, keeping us all safer until we can get vaccinated.
“This year, the best gift anyone can give to our family, friends and ourselves is the ‘gift of protection’, and in doing so protecting all those who work in the NHS – the very people who offer us protection year-round through their medical care, whether for coronavirus infection or other serious illnesses.”
The most effective way to slow the spread of coronavirus, indoors and out, is to wash your hands more, keep a 2m social distance and wear a face covering, especially when indoors with people who are not in your bubble, and open windows to ventilate and allow fresh air in and stale air out.
Support is available for those that need it, particularly those facing financial hardship or those classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ who might face difficulties in isolation. Visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirus. People that do not have access to the internet can call 023 9261 6708, from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
Full details of Tier 3 Very High restrictions, which now apply to Portsmouth can be found www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert