When the national lockdown ended earlier this month, England returned to a tiered restriction system.
Along with several other parts of the country, Cambridgeshire was put into Tier 2 – despite cases remaining low in several parts of the county.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged the tiered system would remain in place “for the forthcoming few months.”
But he added: “You can see now with confidence that from the spring onwards things are getting better.
“Between now and then we have got to hold our nerve, we have got to hold our resolve. We can see the dawn in the distance but we have got to get through to morning.”
So when the current tiered system is reviewed on December 16, some areas could move into a lower tier – while others may move up.
Here’s what we know so far about the announcement next week.
When will the lockdown tiers be reviewed?
The tiers will be reviewed on December 16, meaning authorities have just over a week to make their case for moving down a tier.
Cambridgeshire is currently in Tier 2, but this could change when the tiers are reviewed next week.
The review will consider the opinions of local public health directors, with a final decision on whether any changes will take place being made at a Cabinet committee.
Areas which are approved for Tier changes will see the switch take place on December 19.
The exact time of the announcement hasn’t yet been announced, but further details are expected closer to the time.
What will happen when the tiers are reviewed?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that it was essential to maintain controls until there was a general rollout of a vaccination programme in the new year.
So don’t expect to see a huge loosening of restrictions across the UK.
But Mr Hancock said the Government would consider allowing more localised measures when the rules come up for their first fortnightly review on December 16, potentially enabling some areas to move into a lower, less restrictive tier.
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What does this mean for Cambridgeshire?
If the government takes a more localised approach to tiered lockdowns, then some parts of Cambridgeshire could theoretically be subject to looser measures.
Before last month’s national lockdown, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the ‘trigger point’ for moving up to Tier 2 from Tier 1 was approximately 100 cases per 100,000 people.
In South Cambridgeshire, Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, infection rates remain below 100 cases per 100,000 people.
However, rates in Fenland and Peterborough remain high compared to the rest of the region.
But the infection rate isn’t the only thing that authorities consider – they also take into account the case detection rates in all age groups.
If cases are higher in older age groups, then this is seen as a cause for concern.
In an interview with Cambridgeshire Live last week, Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said restrictions were unlikely to change in the county before 2021.