THE public health chief has warned we are still at a “tipping point” after officials met to discuss the situation in the city.

But after being presented with current figures, Brighton and Hove leaders are unanimous that additional restrictions are not necessary at this time.

The announcement came as the government imposed additional measures on Greater Manchester against the wishes of city representatives.

It is understood that a weekly statement on regions and authorities will be made in Parliament on Thursday.

Case figures in Brighton and Hove appear to be stabilising following a steep rise in new infections, but people’s actions remain “crucial” to preventing the spread.

The Argus:

There were 242 cases in the week leading up to October 15, compared with the 243 cases in the week before.

Swathes of positive tests at the city’s universities with young people aged between 15-24 made up 62 per cent of all the October cases.

However, according to officials, we are now starting to see increasing rates in working age and older adults.

On Monday, the city’s MPs, councillors, Public Health, Healthwatch and NHS leaders, university Vice Chancellors, police chiefs and business experts met virtually to discuss the situation.

Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health, told the group that the city was still at a “tipping point”, but it was possible to stop the spread of Covid by following the hands, face, space guidelines and limiting contact with other people.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: “There are a number of people in ICU (Intensive Care Units), who our thoughts are with, but we are not at capacity.

The Argus:

“One thing I found very interesting from the board is that a large number of students who have tested positive may not even be registered in Brighton, but at their home address.

“There’s a feeling the numbers at the university might be under, not over-reported, but we are not the highest in the South East and it seems very positive.

“As we go into winter months there’s real anxiety that people will go indoors and that may be a problem, but so far it seemed a steady as we go message rather than anything else.”

The University of Sussex, which has been praised for its efforts, said it will continue to do everything it can to protect the health of its students, the city and its residents.

The group of city leaders discussed the new three-tier system which sees every area of England classed as being on Medium, High or Very High alert - also known as Tiers 1 to 3, respectively.

The Argus:

Brighton and Hove has been classed as being in Tier 1 which means that the city is subject to the basic national rules.

People must not meet in a group of more than six people and pubs, cars and restaurants must close by 10pm.

Tier 2 would see people prohibited from socialising with anybody outside their household indoors and would have a profound effect on the city’s hospitality trade.

Tier 3, which has been imposed on Manchester by government, sees all pubs, bars, betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres and soft play areas closed.

Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove and Portslade, said: “There was discussion about Tier 2, but there wasn’t an assumption that we would fall prey to it.

“I don’t think the government understands cities like Brighton and Hove and the tier system is so blunt as to be pretty useless when judging the challenges that Brighton faces.

“For example, most Covid-positive cases are very highly localised within one or two parts of the city, a city-wide response forced on us by central government wouldn’t reflect that reality.

The Argus:

“I have confidence that local public health officials, local epidemiologists and scientists, and our city’s leaders are reflecting that and are designing policies that keep residents as safe as possible right now.”

All members of the group agreed that the city’s current status as being on Medium Alert was right but that “there was absolutely no room for any complacency about how quickly the situation could change”.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “We had a very constructive meeting.

“The city has been brilliant over the past few months, with business and the community pulling together to help each other while staying safe, and if this spirit continues and people stay vigilant, I hope we can stay in Tier 1.

“That is so important for all our local businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector, who have worked really hard to operate safely.”

Council Leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said the meeting paved the way for effectively managing any significant future Covid outbreaks.

However, he apologised after the city’s voluntary and community Sector partners, faith and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community leaders were not invited.

“I will ensure that they are invited to the next meeting and I apologise for that oversight,” the Green leader said.

“We know most people are following the Covid guidelines and we thank everyone for all their efforts.

“It can be hard and it can be complicated but we ask everyone to take our top three actions and play their part.”

People are being asked to reduce their social contacts, meet outside wherever you can and keep your face covering on at all times when you’re out and about.

People should be self-isolating at the first sign of symptoms and getting tested.

All city leaders are keen to avoid higher tier restrictions, if possible, to protect the city’s hospitality sector.

Greater Manchester will be placed under stricter coronavirus controls after talks between the Government and civic leaders concluded without an agreement.

The region’s mayor Andy Burnham held last-ditch talks with the Prime Minister earlier on yesterday aimed at securing additional financial support for his consent on new restrictions.

But Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the discussions have concluded “without an agreement” and accused the mayor of being “unwilling to take the action that is required”.

Greater Manchester will face Tier 3 measures from 12.01am on Friday.

The new measures could lead to the closure of more than 1,800 pubs and 140 wine bars, as well as 277 betting shops and 12 casinos.

Manchester currently has a rate of 424.7 cases per 100,000 population.

Brighton currently has a rate of 83.2 cases per 100,000 population.