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Julian Sturdy presses PM to remove York from Tier 2 after the national lockdown

Dom Smith provides a regional Covid-19 update thanks to a PMQs exchange between York Outer MP Julian Sturdy and Boris Johnson the PM

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Julian Sturdy questioned Boris Johnson about when York will be reinstated to Tier 1 Covid-19 alert from its current Tier 2 level, in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 11 November.

The Conservative MP for York Outer, Sturdy opened his statement by acknowledging what good news it is that the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine has emerged as the most likely medical ‘cure’ for Covid-19.

Turning his attention to matters in his constituency, he said: “As York’s virus figures continue to fall well below the level at which we were put into Tier 2, can the Prime Minister give York some hope to sustain our great city by clearly outlining the criteria under which we can escape immediately into Tier 1 from 2 December?”

Sturdy continued: “Will [the PM] also urge York Council to take up the government’s offer of mass-testing?”

Responding to Sturdy’s regional concerns, the Prime Minister indicated he saw the current national lockdown across England as more significant to stopping the spread of the virus than the tiered system his government had introduced a month earlier.

Johnson began by saying: “I urge York Council — and councils across the land — to take up this offer of mass-lateral flow testing. I think it’s a very, very exciting possibility; it’s one of the boxing gloves we seek to wield to pummel this disease into submission. The other is the prospect of a vaccine. That is what we will do continuously throughout the weeks and months ahead.”

On whether York’s removal from the Tier 2 — or high alert — category is likely in the immediacy, the PM offered less hope. He concluded his statement by insisting: “I must stress that the way to get ourselves in the best position to achieve that… is to make these current restrictions work, so that we can come out well back into the tiers on December 2.”

It seems then that York will likely remain in Tier 2 once the national lockdown ends — currently planned to be on 2 December. However, that assumes York’s numbers continue to fall at a steady rate. If, instead, there is an increased drop-off in local Covid cases within the next three weeks, York may indeed be returned to its original ‘medium alert’ (Tier 1) level for the Christmas period.

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