Bristol moving to ‘Tier 1+’ amid fears of a move to Tier 2

‘I can’t fault the universities’ says Director of Public Health

Bristol is moving to “Tier 1+” in a matter of days in an attempt to stem the Covid outbreak that is currently sweeping through the city.

Mayor Marvin Rees unveiled the brand new tier in a press conference today, saying that is only being used locally and is not part of any national guidance. Bristol will be the first area in the country to move to this new tier.

“Tier 1+” means using “targeted actions” such as using data to promote the safe use of public spaces, tackling parts of test and trace, and to address compliance and enforcement on the restrictions.

Rees added that Bristol will move into Tier 2 or Tier 3 if these new measures do not bring case numbers down.

Bristol University has said that the move will have no effect on teaching or University operations, saying that they are “confident that the University remains compliant with any new restrictions”.

Director of Public Health, Christina Gray, unveiled new Covid marshals who are being deployed during evenings and weekends to ensure that Covid rules are being followed. Gloucester Road is one of the areas that will be targeted.

She added that she “can’t fault the universities”, saying outbreaks in the under 30 age bracket is easy enough to control. However, the outbreak among 30-60 year olds is increasing, which Gray says is due to households mixing and lower levels of compliance.

She said that it would take two to three weeks to see whether the new measures being taken have been effective in bringing case numbers down.

Bristol currently has 340.7 Covid cases per 100,000, with UWE experiencing a rise in infections of 500 per cent in one week.

Bristol Uni has also experienced high infection levels, with over five per cent of students having tested positive since the return to campus one month ago.

The government Department of Health and Social Care has not yet commented on the move.

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “We are confident that the University remains compliant with any new restrictions that may come into effect as a result of city of Bristol moving into Tier1+.

“We continue to work very closely with Bristol City Council and PHE to guide our next steps and contain any outbreaks within the student population. This includes a daily meeting with our partners and conducting a joint weekly risk assessment.

“This includes monitoring numbers in halls and the community very closely so that we can act quickly to stop the spread of the virus.

“The introduction of two mobile testing centres just for students and staff has allowed us to identify cases more quickly and easily, leading to particular Living Circles being asked immediately to self-isolate.

“This increased testing capacity partly explains the rise in cumulative numbers of positive tests. But in terms of active cases of students and staff still feeling unwell with Covid symptoms that figure continues to fall and is currently 227.

“It is very positive that students are taking this seriously and getting tested/self-isolating where necessary.”

Cover photo: Bristol City Council / University of Bristol

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