MP says 'religious' observance of lockdown has kept Covid rates down

Duncan Baker, Conservative candidate in North Norfolk. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATE

Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, said people's compliance with the lockdown rules was the main reason why case numbers were low.  - Credit: Archant

People following lockdown rules "respectfully and religiously" has led to the North Norfolk constituency having the lowest rate of coronavirus in the county, its MP has said.

North Norfolk is poised to become the first part of the county to drop below the milestone figure of 100 cases per 100,000 people over a single week, with the latest figure standing at 138.3 for the seven days to February 3. There were a total of 145 recorded in north Norfolk in that time frame. 

This compares to the average 'rolling rate' for Norfolk of 232.1 cases per 100,000.

MP Duncan Baker said while there were several factors in North Norfolk's success in bringing the numbers down, the key was compliance with the lockdown.

people in care homes Picture: Getty Images

North Norfolk has a relatively high average population age.  - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

"The reason it is lower here is that we have a demographic of people who follow the guidance and the rules," Mr Baker said. "My constituents have diligently and painstakingly followed the rules to protect themselves and others. 

"Now is not the time to be complacent at all, however our priority has got to be starting to establish a roadmap for coming out of the national lockdown.

"The first step along the way is getting our children safely back to school, which we've outlined will be the beginning of March."

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Government data shows North Norfolk has the highest average age of any constituency in the country at almost 49 years of age.

Mr Baker said North Norfolk's environment and location also gave it an edge.

"We have wide open spaces and lots of fresh air, where it's easier to create distance and not spread the virus," he said.

"There are not as many people passing through on the way to somewhere else, which helps."

Mr Baker said Norfolk and Waveney's vaccination teams were now ranked third out of 42 health systems in England responsible for rolling the vaccines out, and 91pc of over-80s in the region had already had their first jab.

Vaccinations got underway at North Walsham Community Centre last weekend, having started at the town's Rossis Leisure centre several weeks ago, led by Birchwood Medical Practice. 

Rossis Leisure centre at North Walsham. Owner Bruce Rossi.

Bruce Rossi, owner of Rossis Leisure centre near North Walsham, a Covid-19 vaccination hub. - Credit: Archant

The leisure centre's owner, Bruce Rossi, said medical staff - who were administering hundreds of jabs a day - had been well supported by volunteers.

"It's amazing," Mr Rossi said. "A very slick operation. It's absolutely key that we're getting the vaccines out as quickly as possible, it's going to be the driver of getting the economy going again."