Stoke-on-Trent City Council has remained on the government’s national watch list of ‘areas of concern’ for coronavirus cases published today (Friday).
The government announces each week areas of the country that fall into three categories, the most severe being ‘in intervention’, where local and national leaders can enforce restrictions such as local lockdowns; ‘in receipt of enhanced support’, where a range of extra resources are put in place for additional testing and contact tracing; and ‘areas of concern’, where authorities, Public Health England and the NHS Test and Trace service work together to target activities in particular areas, and are monitored nationally.*
The data used by government in its watch list is based on the previous two weeks of data and the publication comes at a time when the ‘R’ rate nationally (the number of cases per 100,000 of the population is confirmed as raising to between 1 and 1.2 as cases raise by 10,000 in a week nationally.
It also comes when neighbouring cities such as Birmingham and other parts of the West Midlands are seeing more local restrictions being introduced as interventions against the raising case numbers in their areas. This includes no household mixing.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Nationally we’ve seen the highest rise in cases since May. Here in our own city – across the whole city – we’ve seen that coronavirus case numbers are increasing and continue to do so. It’s therefore not a surprise that we remain on the watch list. While it’s positive that we’ve not escalated to an area of intervention by government, this still could very much be a reality for us and it remains incredibly serious that we remain on this list. We need to do everything we can to continue to battle this horrible disease.
“We’ve introduced the local testing pilot next week to try and find local solutions for the testing issues that we’re seeing. We’re also seeing new measures being introduced from Monday nationally including the #ruleofsix where no more than six people should meet unless for work or education purposes. We want to continue to be masters of our own destiny rather than have restrictions put upon us so I’m urging everyone to continue to do everything you can to stop the spread in Stoke-on-Trent – wash your hands, keep your distance, wear your face covering and follow the new guidance.
If we lose this initiative, it wouldn’t be good for the city – not only for our economy, education of our children and our own wellbeing – but for the protection and safety of everyone in this city – young and old, male or female. Let’s continue to do all that we can together to stop the spread of this virus and to kick coronavirus out of Stoke-on-Trent.”
You can see the national watch list in full at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports
For more information and advice on the coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.