ARGUS readers were split over whether Brighton and Hove should be upgraded to a "high risk" tier two alert.

A poll showed that 50 per cent of readers supported stronger lockdown measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in the city while the other half of respondents believed the city should remain in tier one, "medium risk".

The survey, which received 826 responses, asked: "Do you think Brighton and Hove should be placed into tier two?"

The Argus:

Half of all those who answered chose the option, "yes, I think this is needed to reduce the infection rate".

A further 35 per cent said they thought that "no, I think people should be trusted to take the necessary precautions.

The remaining 15 per cent chose an option which stated: "No, I do not think that would help the situation in the city."

The poll was launched by The Argus yesterday after several areas in the south of England were upgraded to tier two restrictions at midnight on Friday.

The Argus:

These were London, Essex (apart from Southend and Thurrock) and Elmbridge in Surrey.

Previously, the most southerly area affected by "high risk" restrictions was Solihull.

London was upgraded to "high risk"after several boroughs surpassed 100 weekly cases per 100,000 population.

This mark has been described as a "key threshold" in deciding when an area is moved from tier one to tier two by The Evening Standard.

Elmbridge in Surrey also had more than 100 weekly cases per 100,000 people, with 129 weekly cases in the seven days leading up to October 13.

Essex, however, did not have any areas which surpassed this mark.

It's highest weekly rate was in Basildon, where there were 89 cases per 100,000 people in the latest week of figures available - October 7 to October 13.

In comparison, the Brighton and Hove weekly rate over this period was 81 per 100,000 people, and the average in areas across England was 95.

The Argus:

But Essex County Council asked the government to upgrade its alert level after observing that weekly infection figures were "doubling everywhere across Essex".

A spokesman for the authority said: "We believe that this trend will continue over the coming weeks and we will soon find ourselves in the same position as many northern towns."

As a result, the county (except for Southend and Thurrock) joined London and Elmbridge in being upgraded to tier two at midnight on Friday.

The Argus:

What new restrictions will apply to people in "high risk" tier two areas?

People in high risk areas will face tighter lockdown restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

They will still have to follow social distancing guidelines, the rule of six and the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues - the restrictions currently in place nationwide, including across "medium risk" areas such as Sussex.

But they will also not be allowed to socialise with anybody from outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether this is at home or in a public place.

Groups of no more than six may socialise in outdoor areas such as gardens, beaches and parks.

However, exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors.