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‘Worrying’ drop in hand sanitiser use in Norfolk town

PUBLISHED: 13:03 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:15 07 September 2020

Councillor John Rest.  Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Councillor John Rest. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2015

There are “worrying and unwelcome” signs in one Norfolk town that people are taking fewer coronavirus precautions.

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATESarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE CANDIDATE

Contractors tasked with topping up hand sanitiser in Fakenham have reported a decline in their use - despite an increase footfall in the town in recent months.

The anecdotal evidence was heard on Monday at a cabinet meeting of North Norfolk District Council, called to discuss a report examining the local authority’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor John Rest reported he had been informed there had been “quite a decline” in the amount of new solution contractors were needing to put in stations and how often they required re-filling.

Mr Rest said: “It’s almost going a week before they need to think about topping [the hand sanitiser stations] up.

People out in Fakenham as lockdown eases. Picture: Aaron McMillanPeople out in Fakenham as lockdown eases. Picture: Aaron McMillan

“I think the system is good, I think it’s just bearing in mind that people are just not bothering now to carry out the procedures that they were earlier.”

Sarah Bütikofer, leader of NNDC, said: “I think that’s a very unwelcome and worrying sign, we are continuing to press on social media, and we will continue to press the message that sadly coronavirus is still very much with us and people need to be taking the same precautions that they have been doing to keep everyone safe and make sure that we maintain our status.

“We’re not complacent here, it only takes a couple of people unfortunately with the virus and it’s away.”

Concerns were also raised about the decline in the number of virus tests being carried out in the district over the summer.

Steve Blatch, chief executive of NNDC, confirmed the number of tests being carried out over the summer period had fallen - a decline he put down to low incidences of the infection in the district.

He said the local facilities were important and as the country returned to work, school or university would remain key.

Mr Blatch said: “I don’t think we should be either surprised or concerned that the numbers of tests people have accessed locally over the last six to eight weeks have been declining.

“I think that’s a positive for North Norfolk but we need that access to be maintained for convenience moving forward.”


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