‘Difficult to say’ what tier Wiltshire will be in

There is no indication as to what tier Wiltshire may be in once lockdown ends, the local director for public health has said.

The three-tier system will return from December 3 with a number of changes limiting what people can do and who they can see.

These were outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during Monday’s briefing. 

To curb the spread of the virus, a number of areas that were previously in the lowest tier are expected to move up to Tier 2 – it is possible but not confirmed that Wiltshire will be among them.

Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire Council’s director for public health, says it is difficult to speculate on what restrictions will be in place in the county after the end of lockdown as details of what this decision will be based on haven’t been released.

She told Tuesday’s media briefing she was “erring on the side of caution” before suggesting either way.

Asked what her hunch was, Ms Blackburn said: “I probably am more cautious, the reason for that is two-fold. One is because we don’t know how the government is going to do this. We haven’t been shown what the triggers and thresholds are.

“Tier 2 talks about areas with higher and rapidly rising level of infection. Ours isn’t rapidly rising but it is higher than when we were in Tier 1 previously so until we have clarity on this, I think it’s difficult to say with any level of certainty where we would be.”

Geography and how areas will be divided also plays a part in the allocation of the tiers, Ms Blackburn said.

“If it goes by council area that’s a very different kettle of fish.

“If it goes by region, we have Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire in the South West region and we’ve had very high rates of cases there so at the moment I would be erring on the side of caution.”

Prior to November 5, when the lockdown came into force, Ms Blackburn revealed there had been discussions about Wiltshire possibly moving to Tier 2.

Whether the county will join the high tier or stay in the medium risk level (Tier 1) will be revealed on Thursday.

You can see an explainer of what rules will be in place in each tier here.

Salisbury Journal | News