Protect Norfolk: New coronavirus campaign urges county to help stop spread
PUBLISHED: 10:38 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:56 15 May 2020
Protect Norfolk to stop coronavirus from claiming more lives - that is the message from NHS hospital chiefs, blue light services and council leaders.
It comes amid concern people could drop their guard with the easing of lockdown restrictions, with warnings that the coronavirus pandemic is not over.
While the government has relaxed restrictions on spending time outdoors and meeting one member of another household, a fresh campaign has been launched urging people to keep protecting themselves and others from the virus.
The Protect Norfolk campaign aims to get the message across that people must respect social distancing and behave in ways to keep themselves and others safe.
Amid concerns that the weekend could see people, after months of lockdown, heading out in numbers, the campaign reiterates the message that people should still stay at home wherever possible.
Partners of the Norfolk Resilience Forum, made up of organisations across Norfolk including councils, the blue light services and the NHS, are urging people in the county to keep doing their bit to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Dr Frankie Swords, medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, said people needed to keep social distancing to prevent infections rising again and to keep pressure off the NHS.
She said: “I know it’s difficult for so many of us not being able to see friends and family or to go out as much as we would like, but it is important that we maintain our guard against COVID-19.
“Even though we are beyond the first peak and cases are reducing, the virus will be with us for some time yet and we all need to play our part in protecting each other and the NHS.
“Please carry on doing what you have been doing so well for the past seven weeks, it has made a huge difference and saved lives.
“Please keep washing your hands and social distancing. Please stay at home and self-isolate if you have symptoms that could be COVID-19.
“The more contact we have with each other, and the closer that contact is, the greater the chance that COVID-19 infections will start to rise again and we may be heading for more deaths, more hospital admissions and another lockdown.”
As of May 14, 334 people with coronavirus had died in Norfolk’s hospitals, 108 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, 126 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and 100 at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.
Seventy-seven people living in Norfolk care homes died after contracting coronavirus between April 10 and May 8.
MORE: The Norfolk neighbourhoods with the highest coronavirus death rates
Social distancing guidelines, asking everyone to observe a two metre minimum distance between themselves and others, remain in place.
And those who are able to work from home are being urged to continue doing so, wherever possible.
Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council and chair of Norfolk’s Strategic Co-ordination Group, said: “The people of Norfolk have been steadfast in their approach to following the restrictions so far.
“We know it hasn’t been easy for many people and I would like to thank them for their dedication and commitment in fighting the virus.
“We now move into a new phase of lockdown, which sees the easing of some restrictions giving people more freedom to go outside.
“Norfolk communities will appreciate that this is by no means the end of the road - rather the start of a very long recovery journey.
“I’d ask everyone to stay safe and to apply common sense to their activities, respecting the social distancing requirements and staying at home wherever possible to protect one another.”
The Protect Norfolk campaign urges:
Keep staying at home as much as possible
Keep contact with others to a minimum
Keep safe when outside
Keep our hands and faces clean
Keep self-isolating if anyone in our household has symptoms
Keep travelling safely
Keep shielding ourselves if we need to
Keep exercising and enjoying outside space safely
Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council and chair of the Norfolk Leaders Group, said: “With new guidance from the government coming into effect, it’s important we all remember that this is nowhere near a return to normal – certainly not yet.
“We still have vulnerable people in our communities and we all still need to keep taking sensible precautions.
“I’d like to thank everyone in Norfolk for the real determination they have shown to stop the spread of this virus so far.
“It’s vital that we all keep thinking about our behaviour and keep observing social distancing so we can protect ourselves, protect the most vulnerable and protect Norfolk as a whole.”
Norfolk police chief constable Simon Bailey recently warned that the easing of lockdown restrictions was not a green light to go back to normality,
He said: “My main concern is if communities now think the virus no longer poses a threat, they may not adhere to social distancing and take risks not taken before and then increase the risk of infection growing. But it is important to carry on with social distancing and personal hygiene to stop the spread of the virus.
“As we move forward I want communities to continue to reflect on that because this is not the end of the road and there is still a very long way to go.”
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