Rising coronavirus infections have seen the Isle of Wight plunged from Tier 1 into Tier 4 in just one week.
The island’s 142,000 residents will now effectively return to November lockdown rules.
Infections on the island have been escalating far faster than at any point throughout the pandemic.
On Boxing Day the region was moved into Tier 3, and Tier 4 restrictions will come into force from midnight on Thursday.
The government has announced today that the Island will move into Tier 4 (stay at home) from 00:01 on 31 December 2020.
— IOW Council Official (@iwight) December 30, 2020
Isle of Wight Council leader Dave Stewart said that “all of the good work we have been doing to protect our island community from this virus seems to have been undone in a very short space of time”.
Rates of Covid-19 infection on the island have risen dramatically during December.
Watch: Key points from today’s Covid-19 press briefing
In the seven days to November 28 the district recorded a rate of 31.0 cases per 100,000 people.
But the most recent data for the week to December 25 shows the Isle of Wight logging a rate of 212.3 – nearly seven times that number.
Mr Stewart said: “We cannot let our guard down for a moment.
“Sadly it seems that some in our community have forgotten this, but I hope that this change of tiers will serve as a reminder to them not to act selfishly and follow the guidance.
“You may gamble that you might only get a mild infection, but are you willing to gamble you won’t pass it on to the person you are sitting beside, and that they will not get the infection in a far more serious way?
“We all have high hopes for 2021, with the vaccine being rolled out and the promise of some normality returning; let’s bring the New Year in sensibly and positively, by doing the right thing, protecting our community, friends, families, neighbours and most vulnerable people on the island by staying at home one more time.”
The island’s MP Bob Seely said: “Clearly, moving to Tier 4 is disappointing, but due to the new and more infectious strain of Covid, there is little alternative, especially with pressures on St Mary’s increasing.
“The likelihood is that the island will be under heavy restrictions until at least the end of February.
“The good news is that the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine has today been approved.
“From next Monday it will begin to be rolled out. Combined with the other vaccine, that will mean that millions of people across the UK, and thousands of islanders, will be vaccinated every month. Come the spring, we should start the return to a more normal living.”
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