THE rate of coronavirus cases in over 60s in Dorset appears to have been one of the key reasons why the county has been placed in Tier 2 of restrictions following the end of lockdown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Thursday morning (November 26) that Dorset will be in the 'high' tier category when lockdown ends on Wednesday, December 2.

Both Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council will be under the Tier 2 restrictions.

The county was previously in Tier 1 before the latest national lockdown came into force on November 5.

While shops will reopen, households will not be able to mix indoors and pubs will only be able to open if operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a "substantial meal".

This is despite the rate of infection in Dorset currently being far lower than the national average.

Written statements published following health secretary Matt Hancock's announcements show the government's reasoning for Dorset being in Tier 2.

It states that a high number of cases among the over 60s and rising coronavirus patients in Dorset hospitals as the key reasons. 

A statement reads: "Case rates are falling across the area (131/100,000 in all cases and 99/100,000 in the over 60s).

"However, the over 60 case rate is still high at 151/100,000 in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Positivity is 5.2 per cent. 

"In addition, the Dorset STP (sustainability and transformation partnership) reports daily admissions to hospitals are increasing."

Dorset Echo: Cases of coronavirus have been decreasing in DorsetCases of coronavirus have been decreasing in Dorset

Health leaders in Dorset said they were aiming for the county to come out of the national coronavirus lockdown still in the lowest tier of restrictions.

The five factors used to determine tiers include case detection rates in all age groups, case detection rates in the over 60s and the rate at which cases are rising or falling.

The two other measures are the positivity rate - the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken - and pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.

A majority of England is under Tier 2 restrictions, with only Cornwall, Isles of Scilly and Isle of Wight under Tier 1 measures post-lockdown.