MATT Hancock says he would "like to see Sussex get to Tier 1 as soon as is possible".

The Health Secretary made the comments in the House of Commons today following the announcement that the whole county would be placed in Tier 2 when the national lockdown came to an end next Wednesday.

But he said the infection rate in the county still remained too high.

Wealden Conservative MP voiced her disappointment in this decision, saying Sussex had recently recorded low rates in the five parameters used to decide which areas were in Tier 1, 2 and 3.

The Argus: Wealden Conservative MP Nus GhaniWealden Conservative MP Nus Ghani

These are:

  • Case detection rates
  • Case detection rates in over 60s
  • Whether the R number/infection rate is increasing or decreasing
  • The current and potential pressure on the NHS
  • The positivity rate - the number of positive Covid-19 tests as a proportion of the number of tests being carried out.

Ms Ghani said: "I stand not only to represent Wealden, but speak on behalf of my colleagues - the MP for Bexhill and Battle, the MP for Eastbourne and the MP for Hastings."

She thanked local health leaders "for working with us day in, day out, to understand the data and the reasons for the infection rates".

"We are deeply disappointed that, considering all of the five indicators where we mark extremely low, we are in Tier 2," she said.

The Argus: Wealden, along with the rest of Sussex, will face Tier 2 frestrictions from December 2 when the national lockdown endsWealden, along with the rest of Sussex, will face Tier 2 frestrictions from December 2 when the national lockdown ends

"And we are disappointed that central government has not consulted with these local leaders, because then they would have been able to investigate the data and hopefully show us how we can move into Tier 1.

"Can I ask my right honourable friend (Mr Hancock) to provide some assurances that these conversations will take place with local leaders, and also confirm that transparent, objective criteria will be published for each tier, and also how we can slide between each tier."

Mr Hancock was quick to say he could "give both those reassurances" but said the infection rate across the county still remained too high.

He said: "Across Sussex case rates are at 120. They do need to come down.

"Like her (Ms Ghani) I'd like to see Sussex get to Tier 1 as soon as is possible and we'll keep talking to the local area.

"All directors of public health have been invited to discussions and consultations with the public health team, and their feedback has been fed into these decisions.

The Argus: Health secretary Matt HancockHealth secretary Matt Hancock

"But we've got to make sure those conversations continue.

"And the key message to everybody across Sussex, and in Wealden in particular, is that if we all stick together and we all follow the rules then we know we can get this virus under control.

"And that will then lead directly to the lifting of restrictions which we will regularly review."

Mr Hancock committed to "regular" but not "weekly" reviews of the tier system.

He had previously stated they would be reviewed every two weeks.

To move into Tier 1, areas of Sussex will have to prove they are performing well on the five parameters listed above.