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Despite Low Covid Rate, Waverley Forced Into Tier 2

Published on: 26 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 28 Nov, 2020

By Julie Armstrong

Despite having relatively low numbers of Covid cases in Surrey, Waverley is to be placed into a higher tier after lockdown.

The borough, which includes Godalming, Farnham and Haslemere, had the lowest rate of all Surrey boroughs, 95.8 cases per 100,000 population in the seven days up to November 20. The county average was 134.6 per 100,000, with Spelthorne highest at 207.3.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock has consigned all Surrey boroughs to the same tier.

Waverley Borough Council leader John Ward (Farnham Residents Group) thinks residents have worked hard to follow the rules and should have been rewarded. He said: “Surrey has been dragged down by the boroughs nearer London.

Cllr John Ward

“We expected to be in Tier 2 from the statements coming out of government, but we were in Tier 1 before lockdown and we’re disappointed not to go back into Tier 1.”

The number of cases in Surrey has fallen since the second lockdown began on November 5, apart from a couple of spikes, one on November 9 and another a week later.

Mr Ward added: “We think our population is really knuckling down and observing social distancing and hand-washing and all the recommendations from on high, so we’re very pleased with the way our population has responded.

“I understand the difficulty, counties either side are in Tier 2 as well, but they didn’t want to give us just reward for being obedient which is a bit of a shame.

“We’re a bit unhappy about it but we do understand the reasoning.”

He said he hoped the borough would be moved down a tier in the next revision in a fortnight.

Surrey as a whole, and each borough, is lower than the England average of 218.6 as of last week.

Most county boroughs were below the 161.6 South East average, except for Spelthorne, Runnymede and Epsom and Ewell.

Rates were calculated by the Surrey County Council public health data intelligence team, using the ONS 2019 mid-year population estimates.

Tier 2 means Surrey residents must not mix with people who do not live in their house (or are not in their support bubble) in any indoor setting.

The rule of six is back, meaning a maximum of six people can meet, including in private gardens and public spaces.

Surrey businesses can operate in a Covid-secure way, but pubs and bars must close unless they are also serving substantial meals.

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