BRIGHTON and Hove MPs have had their say on whether the city should be moved to Tier 1 restrictions following a promising decline in the infection rate.

Director of public health Alistair Hill announced on Thursday there had been a "significant reduction" in the number of coronavirus cases recorded in the city for the second consecutive week.

This included a dramatic drop in the number of positive tests among over 60s.

There were 174 Covid-19 reported in the week leading up to November 27, a 49 per cent reduction on the number recorded the week before.

This was equivalent to a weekly rate of new cases of 59.8 per 100,000 residents, far below the English average of 157.6 per 100,000.

The Argus:

Matt Hancock has previously confirmed that five factors are used to determine which tier an area is placed in.

These are case detection rates, case detection rates in over 60s, whether the R number is increasing or decreasing, the current and potential pressure on the NHS and the positivity rate - the number of positive Covid-19 tests as a proportion of the number of tests being carried out.

Brighton and Hove is currently in Tier 2, or high alert, and so is under heightened restrictions to stifle the spread of coronavirus.

But, with promising signs seen in the first three factors used to decide which tier an area is in, The Argus spoke to the city's MPs and council to see if they believed it should be moved to Tier 1.

Brighton Kemptown Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said the city was "on the cusp of Tier 1", putting this down to "the hard work of residents and the nature of work in Brighton which means that working from home and lockdowns have had a greater effect than in other areas".

The Argus:

He said: "I would dearly love us to come out of Tier 2 and into Tier 1 sooner rather than later.

"But it will help no one if that process is rushed or if we fall at the final hurdle.

"The reviews happen fortnightly and are evidence based, including what is happening in neighbouring areas, always ensuring we take a precautionary approach.

"Whatever tier we are in, the restrictions on single people meeting, and the restrictions on hospitality and small business, all mean that the government needs to do more to support these groups, which I believe there is not nearly enough of currently."

Hove and Portslade MP Peter Kyle also stated that he was "desperate for the restrictions that are hammering our local businesses to be lifted".

But he said it was not for him to decide which restrictions the city faced.

The Argus:

Mr Kyle said: "Public health experts must lead these decisions.

"Brighton is an extremely connected city.

"People come here to work, to study and relax.

"That's why the Covid patterns here have been extremely volatile.

"Our hospital isn't just here for us either, it serves a very large area including places where Covid rates are much higher than ours.

"I dearly hope we reduce the restrictions that are holding us back as soon as possible.

The Argus:

"I'm angry that we're only in this position because of the bad decisions taken by government.

"But, for now, we must stay the course, act responsibly, and respect the medical experts who are doing their best in tough situations.''

Councillor Sue Shanks, chairwoman of Brighton and Hove City Council's health and wellbeing board, said that all decisions regarding tiers are made by central government.

She said: "Current data is encouraging and reflects the huge efforts being made by residents in Brighton and Hove, and nationally.

The Argus:

"We would welcome a further easing of restrictions when this is a safe and sustainable option.

"We are only just coming out of the lockdown phase so it is still early days.

"We’re aware that the government will be reviewing the tiers assigned to areas on December 16.”

Until this time, people are being urged to stick to the Tier 2 restrictions in order to maintain the current downward trend in coronavirus cases in Brighton and Hove.

These include not mixing with other households in indoor settings and abiding by the rule of six when meeting others outside.