Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The decision about which tier Leeds falls in to is ultimately down to the Government and we will adhere to its guidance. We have submitted our view to Ministers and officials, published today in our Exec Board report, that due to falling infection rates and extensive plans and structures that are in place, we believe Leeds is in a position to safely enter Tier 2 next week. This is a finely balanced judgement, and there are different risks associated with Tier 2 and Tier 3, but we think the public in Leeds will respect the rules and play their part to help reduce the infection rate.
“People across the city have helped to make vital progress against all five of the government’s criteria, including significantly reducing positive cases across all age groups, by more than 65% in the last four weeks. Likewise, infection rates among the over-60s has significantly reduced, and the percentage of positive test results has also fallen by 60% over the last four weeks. During the same period, the number of Covid patients in our hospital has reduced, although we are working across the partnership to reduce this further.
“We believe a move to Tier 2 at this stage would be a lifeline for many businesses, all of which have invested in Covid-secure premises and dealt with continued uncertainty for months. Fewer restrictions would also improve people’s mental health and wellbeing and ensure they continue to have faith in the tier system and comply with restrictions.
“It is imperative that we do everything we can to continue making the positive progress we have made so far no matter which tier we are in. Our message remains clear; in order to keep ourselves and each other safe, we must continue to follow all of the rules all of the time. Now is not the time to give up. The vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the fight is not over yet.”