WORCESTER’S MP says he fears now Worcestershire could be heading for a higher tier after the county returned to above 200 cases per 100,000 people.

Robin Walker said he had previously called for Worcestershire to drop from tier two to the lowest but the rising infection rates, for dates just before Christmas, have led him to concede “unfortunately we could go higher”.

The county’s overall infection rate in the week up to December 22 was 204.1 - with 1,216 cases recorded in the seven days. This is a rise from our last reported figure of 160.5 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to December 18.

READ MORE: Here’s why we are not in tier one

Mr Walker said: “The rate has really picked up. It goes back to the message people do have to keep being careful.

“The figures are very worrying - and of course these figures are from before Christmas. If Christmas get togethers have made the situation worse, we are going to have to take measures in the new year.

“I have been pressing and would still like to see Worcestershire come down to the lowest level but it seems very unlikely with these figures, that that will happen at the next review. We could go higher, we will just have to wait and see. I am concerned the figures are much higher than what I would want to see them.”

Worcester’s infection rate is up to 178.8 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to December 22. Malvern’s infection rate was 105.5 cases per 100,000 people and Wychavon’s infection rate was 200.1 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to December 22.

The highest rate in Worcestershire was in Bromsgrove at 277.3 per 100,000 people in the week up to December 22.

Redditch’s infection rate was 234.6 cases per 100,000 people and Wyre Forest’s infection rate was 213.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Worcestershire has been in tier two since the return of the regional tier system after the November lockdown, and when the last review was held the county was at 126.4 cases per 100,000 people.

In a statement on each area, Public Heath England said for Worcestershire last week: “The number of daily Covid hospital admissions Worcestershire continues to rise. The daily Covid bed occupancy is below the national acute hospital average but continues to rise.”

The government is set to conduct the next review into the tier system on December 30.

Education minister Gavin Williamson is also set to hold talks today with Downing Street officials and the Department for Education on the plan for secondary schools. “I would like to see schools open, but we are going to have to see,” said Mr Walker.

“I know headteachers have worked hard to make sure they are ready to open. I would hope to see them return but it will depend on the numbers, so we will have to keep a close watch on them.”

• If the county was placed in tier 3, there would seem some change to the rules.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes would all have to close except for delivery, takeaway and drive-throughs.

Mixing with other households would be banned indoors and outdoors except in public parks.

Weddings and funerals could still take place with the restriction on guests the same as tier 2. Care home visits could also take place.

Hairdressers and beauty salons could stay open.

Outdoor grassroots sport would remain banned and all indoor entertainment venues including play centres, bingo halls, arcades, cinemas and theatres would all have to stay closed.