CORONAVIRUS cases in Barnsley tumbled dramatically during the second period of lockdown, latest figures have revealed.

Despite the town being plunged into strict tier three restrictions on Wednesday after the national lockdown ended, an improving picture has been shown by official government statistics.

From its peak of 568.7 cases per 100,000 in the last week of October, Barnsley’s rate stood at 203.8 per 100,000 at the end of November.

Since the start of last month, Barnsley’s cases have been on a daily downward trajectory - October 19 represented the worst-hit day for positive cases since the pandemic began in March with 280 people infected, but the daily new cases rate stood at just four people on November 30.

It represents a dramatic decline in the virus’ spread during the four-week lockdown, giving fresh hope the borough’s pubs and restaurants could reopen for the lucrative pre-Christmas period when its tier is reassessed on December 16.

Public health boss Julia Burrows said: “The government will review our tier position every 14 days, and the regional approach will last until March.

“They will use criteria such as case numbers across all age groups, cases in those aged over 60, the rate of rise or fall in infections, the percentage of those tested who have the virus and current and projected pressures on the NHS locally.

“Please continue to do all you can to help us manage our rates and cases.”

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Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates added: “It is good that infection rates are falling but any drastic relaxation could trigger a spike.

“However, there’s a real prospect we could move into a lower tier - there is hope there now.”