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Five weeks in lockdown - but what has changed in Norfolk?

PUBLISHED: 11:52 26 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 26 April 2020

Norwich city centre during Coronavirus lockdown 31st March 2020. London street empty. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Norwich city centre during Coronavirus lockdown 31st March 2020. London street empty. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Archant

It’s hard to believe it has been little over a month since Norfolk, along with the rest of the nation, was put on lockdown.

A thank you sign to the NHS during the Coronavirus lockdown in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA thank you sign to the NHS during the Coronavirus lockdown in Attleborough. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Prime minister Boris Johnson formally declared the strong measures on March 23, after already closing pubs, nonessential shops and restaurants.

Thousands of lives have been lost to coronavirus nationwide and the current number of people who have died in Norfolk’s hospitals having tested positive for coronavirus stands at 225.

But what has changed since we entered lockdown?

Are we seeing a reduction in the number of cases and deaths?

More than 20,000 coronavirus patients have died in UK hospitals. The UK was seeing a spike in deaths when lockdown was announced on March 23, but there are now signs daily fatalities in the UK are starting to level out and decrease.

However, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released on Tuesday, April 21 shows that 826 further deaths in care homes have been registered in the seven days up to April 10, up from 217 the previous week.

In Norfolk, as of Saturday, the number of people who tested positive for the virus stands at 1,268, of which 232 have died.

A Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) spokesman said it was too early to tell whether the peak had been hit and that it was too early to relax.

Across the UK the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 has started to level and on Wednesday, Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said the number of new cases is “broadly flat”.

How have people in Norfolk adapted to lockdown?

At first, the news of lockdown came as a shock to people up and down the UK, but Norfolk seems to be level with the rest of the country when it comes to time spent in various locations.

Google used location data to chart trends in people’s movement in the home, retail and recreation establishments, grocery stores and pharmacies, public transport hubs and parks and green spaces.

The charts show that people in Norfolk have been avoiding parks, shopping and going to their place of work since lockdown began at the end of March.

The graphs also show that people are spending more time at home and not using public transport as much.

Police have been largely pleased with the public’s efforts, but, earlier this month, said they were being called to too many breaches of the new regulations.

Has crime reduced?

Police have said, nationally, crime has been largely down - but the National Police Chiefs’ Council says there has been a rise in the number of domestic abuse cases.

In Norfolk one woman who runs a Norwich centre helping people suffering from domestic abuse said calls for help have doubled since lockdown.

There have also been local warnings over scammers trying to use the pandemic to their advantage.

Nationally, anti-social behaviour reports rose by 59pc year-on-year in the four weeks to April 12, which has largely been linked to people ignoring the lockdown measures.

At the start of April, officers across Norfolk issued 109 warnings to people not sticking to lockdown guidance amid sunny weekend weather, while 16 court summons were also issued.

Norfolk Constabulary has also seen a rise in the number of speeding drivers, after a number of motorists were found travelling at more than 100mph on the county’s roads.



What about wildlife?

During lockdown, Norfolk’s wildlife appears to be thriving.

Last week a herd of more than 30 deer were spotted crossing the A11, one of Norfolk’s busiest roads.

And Holkham Estate conservation manager Jake Fiennes has said: “What we have seen is this strange moment when nature, bird life, mammals are being seen in places you wouldn’t normally see them.”

He said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to study wildlife.

Are fuel prices lower?

With the price of petrol and diesel tumbling to almost £1 per litre for the first time in years, some fuel stations in Norfolk are still charging above the national average.

The price of US oil plummeted into the negative for the first time in history on Monday, due to a collapse in demand triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

But even though the cost of oil is at a record low, people might not see that reflected when they get to the pump.

In Norfolk, as of April 21, the lowest prices for petrol could be found in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, where it was being sold for 102.9p per litre.

Meanwhile, customers in Diss, Attleborough, Fakenham and Holt were paying up to 125.9p per litre – 23p higher than in Norwich and 14.4p higher than the national average.

Community spirit

Community spirits in streets, towns and villages across the county has been heart warming.

Thousands of people and businesses have been helping vulnerable neighbours in their area to make sure they have everything they need to survive the pandemic.

People in Nelson’s County have joined the national Clap for our Carers campaign every Thursday.

To see what heartwarming things people are doing in your area, please visit our Here to Help page.

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