A HEALTH chief has warned that Brighton and Hove is at a "tipping point" after a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

The city's director of public health Alistair Hill described the rise as "ongoing" and "very concerning" as he urged people to help stop the spread of infection.

There were 227 new cases in the city recorded in the seven days leading up to October 8, compared to 119 the previous week and 39 in the seven days before that.

The Argus:

Mr Hill said: "The ongoing increase in case numbers is very concerning.

"We are seeing cases in all age groups, although it is most common in young people.

"We have seen more cases in students in the past few weeks. 

"Both of the universities are working hard to support students while they self-isolate and prevent the virus spreading."

There have now been 124 cases of coronavirus within the communities of the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton since studies resumed last month.

There have been 67 confirmed cases at the University of Sussex, and 57 at the University of Brighton.

The Argus:

Mr Hill's announcement comes the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new three-tier alert system for coronavirus in England.

This will come into effect tomorrow.

Different areas will be placed into different tiers depending on their infection rates, with areas that have higher levels of transmission being subject to stricter lockdown rules.

Brighton and Hove will be in tier one or "medium risk", the lowest rating.

As a result, it will continue to be under existing lockdown restrictions - the rule of six and 10pm hospitality curfew - with no additional measures put in place.

The Argus:

However, due to the recent rise in cases, Mr Hill said the city was at a "tipping point" and encouraged residents to play their part in limiting opportunities for Covid to spread.

He said: "The virus spreads when people and households mix. This is not a time to take risks. Covid-19 is a highly infectious virus.

"Before going out to mix with other people, please ask yourself: ‘Do I really need to do this and what can I do to reduce my risk?’.

“We are at a tipping point. But we can turn this around if we all play our part by following the hands, face, space guidelines and limiting contact with other people.

"To stop infection spreading it is also crucial to start self-isolating at the first signs of symptoms and book a test.

"Please ensure you self-isolate if have been informed you are a contact of a case. While self-isolating people must not go out or have visitors at home.

“Now more than ever it is vitally important that we all work together to stop the virus spreading further in the city.”

The Argus:

On October 6, Brighton and Hove City Council placed the city under an amber Covid alert to "reflect the significant and ongoing increase in cases that we have seen in the city since September" as part of its traffic-light warning system.

However, the authority says it will not update this alert level until full details on the government's new three-tier alert system are released.

"This is to ensure our communication is as clear and simple as possible," a spokesman said.