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Norfolk taken off the national coronavirus watchlist

PUBLISHED: 13:53 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:55 18 September 2020

Banham Poultry in Attleborough /Norfolk's director of public health Dr Louise Smith. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY/ELLA WILKINSON

Banham Poultry in Attleborough /Norfolk's director of public health Dr Louise Smith. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY/ELLA WILKINSON

DENISE BRADLEY/ELLA WILKINSON

Norfolk has been taken off the national coronavirus ‘watchlist’ - at a time when lockdowns are being imposed in other parts of the country.

Aerial view of Banham Poultry. Picture: Mike PageAerial view of Banham Poultry. Picture: Mike Page

But leaders have stressed it is no time for complacency, especially as cases nationally are on the increase.

The county’s place on the watchlist was prompted by the August outbreak at Banham Poultry, which led to more than 120 positive Covid-19 tests.

That led to the county being put on the government’s watchlist at the start of this month, with the county designated as an “area of enhanced support” due to cases at and linked to the Attleborough meat factory outbreak.

However, the county’s status was downgraded to an “area of concern” last week and today, the government announced that Norfolk has been removed from the list completely, because the spike caused by the outbreak has now passed.

Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Ella WilkinsonLouise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Andrew Proctor, leader of the county council, said: “It is welcome news that Norfolk is being downgraded from an area of concern and has come off the watchlist entirely.

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“This demonstrates the togetherness the county as a whole has shown in following guidelines and highlights the swift response to the Banham Poultry outbreak and hard work of our Public Health team in Norfolk led by Dr Louise Smith.

“I would like to thank everyone in Norfolk for what they have done and are doing and urge them to continue to help reduce the spread of the virus into our communities.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

“The fact that the number of cases nationwide continues to climb emphasises that while we’re in a good position here in Norfolk currently, we can’t pretend we’ll be untouched by the national picture and we can’t afford to be complacent.

“We will continue to closely monitor all cases of Covid in our county and we ask all of our residents to follow the government guidance to protect themselves, protect others and protect Norfolk.”

Banham Poultry reopened its meat processing plant in Attleborough on Monday, after experiencing the county’s largest single coronavirus outbreak.

Norfolk comes off the watchlist at a time when local lockdown rules are being introduced in other parts of the country due to rising infection rates.

Parts of the North West, West Yorkshire and the Midlands are the latest areas where restrictions have been imposed.

MORE: What are the current coronavirus rates across Norfolk?


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