Local lockdown ‘last resort’ for fresh Norfolk coronavirus outbreak
PUBLISHED: 08:01 01 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 01 August 2020
A local lockdown would be a “last resort” to combat a fresh rise in cases of coronavirus in Norfolk, a public health director has said.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced a halt to the easing of lockdown restrictions, postponing measures to reopen bowling alleys and casinos and allow wedding receptions and beauty treatments.
It came just hours after a rise in cases in the north of England saw tighter restrictions imposed.
But Diane Steiner, deputy public health director for Norfolk, has said numbers in the county were continually monitored, despite still being “very low overall” but that a local lockdown would be a “last resort” to tackle an uptick.
Ms Steiner said: “The numbers have gone up a bit in Norwich but they are still very low in Norfolk overall - partially that’s thanks to residents and all the things they’ve been doing from social distancing and hand washing to following the guidelines.
“We all still need to be playing our part and that reassurance that the numbers here are still low doesn’t mean we let up our guard.
“If we want to avoid any stronger measures, these are the sorts of things that everybody individually can contribute to.
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“In Norfolk, a lockdown would be a measure of last resort. We would work with partners and the community to address the specific localised issues faced with wider measures being a last resort. “
Ms Steiner said the renewed restrictions had come about as a result of Office for National Statistics (ONS) finding a “slight rise” in infections across the UK.
“The government has said ‘we’re going to take these steps if the data says it’s okay for us to do so’,” she said. “The ONS data has shown a slight rise in cases in the country - so the government seems to have decided it would be prudent to pause the next step.”
She added: “For our council, it will mean people need to wear face coverings in museums and libraries and there’s a restriction on the size of wedding parties.
“People aren’t going to see some of the changes they anticipated.”
But she said Norfolk was “not currently in the same position” as areas in the north of England and added: “For us, there’s no imminent need for the types of restrictions we’ve seen elsewhere.
“It’s not to say we’re complacent - we’re reviewing data on a daily basis and monitoring closely. If we see any signs we will act on that.
“I think we’re all continually learning from what’s happening in other areas.”
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