A SHIFT to a lower level of Covid-19 restrictions is “unlikely” before Christmas, according to the city’s health boss.
Dr Debbie Chase, director of Public Health at Southampton City Council, said she thinks that there will not be a move from Tier 2 to Tier 1 before Christmas.
The Tier system, that was introduced on December 2, is set to be reviewed on December 16.
Both Southampton and Hampshire have been placed in Tier 2, which means indoor meetings are banned and pubs and restaurant can open only if they operate as restaurants.
The Tier system will be reviewed nationally next week and the final decision will be made by central government.
But at the meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board held on Tuesday night, Dr Chase said: “I think it is unlikely that there would be a shift in Tiers down to Tier 1 from Tier 2 before Christmas but I am not making that decision I am just going on the basis of what I think in terms of relaxation [of the rules]. I am just conscious in terms of how fragile the health system might be to shift down to Tier 1.”
It comes as she told members that a number of factors will be considered in the review of the Tier system.
These include the overall infection rate, the change to that rate, the positivity rate, the rate for those over 60 and the impact on the health system.
“We don’t really know yet what the impact of being in the tier we are in has been,” Dr Chase said.
Members were told that the numbers went down following the second national lockdown last month.
But there will be a relaxation of the restrictions across Christmas to allow up to three households to spend Christmas together.
Dr Chase stressed the needs for residents to continue to follow the guidelines.
Her comments come as last month Simon Bryant, the director of public health at Hampshire County Council, also said Hampshire might remain in Tier 2 “for longer” in order to manage the loosening of restrictions at Christmas.