Norfolk can be spared harsher coronavirus restrictions if people stick to rules, says leader
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
People in Norfolk hold the key to keeping coronavirus and harsher restrictions at bay, by continuing to take measures to stem its spread, the leader of the county council has said.
As prime minister Boris Johnson announced three tiers of coronavirus restrictions, County Hall leader Andrew Proctor said Norfolk had a proven track record of moving quickly and sensibly to contain local outbreaks - and said local councils are best placed to do that work.
The government announcement means there will be no changes in Norfolk, but people will still need to stick to the rule of six and pubs and bars will need to shut at 10pm.
Mr Proctor said: “If people continue to do what they have been doing in following the guidelines, we can keep the virus at bay here in Norfolk.
“Norfolk’s people and communities have been working hard together to stop the spread of Covid and we need that to continue.
“Partnership working has been excellent, as shown by the effective response to cases at Banham Poultry and in Great Yarmouth.
“Norfolk’s rates are still low compared to the national average and compared to the worst affected areas in northern England. Like every part of the country, Norfolk’s cases are rising, so we cannot afford to be complacent.
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“I would urge everyone to continue to remain vigilant so we can all continue to protect Norfolk. We must all continue to wash our hands, wear face coverings when required to and observe social distancing – hands, face and space.”
The latest available Covid-19 case rate for Norfolk (up to October 6) was 42 per 100,000, compared to 57 for East of England and 142 for England. Norfolk is in the lower quartile of the country.
In Norfolk, there have been 1,327 cases since the start of July. But, in the past 14 days, there were 666 new cases.
Mr Proctor said the way the county council and other organisations had worked quickly to stem outbreaks at Banham Poultry and in Great Yarmouth, where cases have come down since a public plea was issued amid rising infection rates, had proved local knowledge was crucial.
He said: “I welcome the clarity provided by the government, through its new tiered levels of localised measures, linked to local case levels. I also welcome the economic support that is being made available to areas that face the strictest measures.
“What we want to see is an opportunity to have more local involvement in the decision making, as it’s local councils that know their areas best.
“Norfolk County Council has set up its own local tracing service and this has already worked well.
“We have a proven track record that we can respond quickly when we need to.”
Mr Proctor also revealed that Cawston Lodge, a step down centre which was set up earlier this year as a place where people recovering from coronavirus could be cared for on discharge from hospital, could be reopened.
And he said the county council had been stockpiling personal protective equipment to help with the safe discharge of Covid-19 patients and to protect care homes.
The county council has stockpiled 1.6 million face masks, 2 million aprons and 700,000 gloves to support frontline staff and partner agencies during the winter.