Posted: Mon 14th Jun 2021

Chester one of six new areas UK Government gives extra support to help deal with a rise in Covid-19 cases

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jun 14th, 2021

Neighbours Chester and Cheshire West is one of six new areas that UK Government have assigned additional support to help deal with a rise in Covid-19 cases.

The new help comes with guidance that specifies ‘minimise travel in and out of affected areas’.

The packages of “Enhanced Response Area” support has been seen in recent weeks in Greater Manchester and other areas, and includes surge testing, tracing and steps to ‘maximise vaccine uptake’.

In less than three weeks the seven-day infection rate in Chester and Cheshire West rose from five per 100,000 on 23 May to at least 113 per 100,000 on 8 June.

The rolling seven day rate in Flintshire is 17.3 per 100k.

Early testing data shows that more than 85% of cases in Chester and Cheshire West are more likely to belong to the new Delta Variant B.1.617.2, the variant first identified in India.

 

The BBC’s political reporter for Cheshire notes the new support package does not appear to mean extra vaccine doses for the area:

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “I’d like to reassure residents that the enhanced support package does not represent a local lockdown or a return to a tiered system. ”

“It offers extra support and guidance on the simple things residents can do to play their part and keep friends and family safe.  It also helps us put the case to government for more vaccine supplies, to continue to make progress in protecting our communities.”

Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We have seen cases of the new Delta variant of Coronavirus increase dramatically over the last couple of weeks in Cheshire, in particular significant outbreaks related to pubs and in our schools.

“We know what impacts this can have on our physical health, but it also significantly impacts on the mental health of those affected when we see education lost and businesses having to close.

“Having seen the substantial increase in transmission in our neighbours in Greater Manchester, it was sadly only a matter of time before the spread was to be seen across Cheshire given our strong links with friends and family, work and travel.

“Alongside neighbouring boroughs, the government has therefore identified Cheshire as an area to provide additional national support to maximise our own local response and help prevent further cases.

“We know the importance of the vaccine programme, with all the current evidence showing the massively positive protective benefits of having both doses of the vaccine in helping prevent serious illness and hospitalisation of the new Delta Variant.

“We are therefore asking for significant increases in the vaccine supply for our communities and much-improved access to vaccination clinics across our borough, alongside greater levels of testing and self-isolation support.

“We know the importance of keeping to the basics after this last year in terms of hands, face, space and fresh air. In particular we would like to remind everyone where possible to meet outside rather inside wherever you can and to minimise our travel to areas with really high rates.”

The enhanced support package is expected to provide the Council with additional national support to maximise the existing local response and help prevent further cases.

This is likely to include enhanced vaccine access and supply, increased testing in key areas, enhanced contact tracing and more face-to-face engagement with communities.

Council leaders from across Cheshire have also written to the Secretary of State requesting additional vaccine supply to enable faster progress vaccinating younger age groups.

The Delta COVID-19 variant spreads more easily from person to person and everyone who lives and works in the borough is advised to take extra caution, as follows.
•    Meet outside rather than inside where possible
•    Keep two metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you do not live with
•    Minimise travel in and out of affected areas

Anyone aged 25 and over is invited to book their COVID-19 vaccine. Visit: www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk for more information.

At today’s Welsh Government briefing that was focussed on the business support announced, the new Economy Minister Vaughan Gething was asked about the England Wales border by the Daily Post, he replied: “In terms of closing the border, the reality is that we have an open border already, we don’t have travel restrictions in place. The UK Government has only given guidance for people in delta variant hotspots.

“Now, at this point in time we don’t think that there is a case for imposing travel restrictions. What we have shown in the past is if there is a case to protect public health here in Wales, then we’ll do so, either on the basis there being local restriction introduced in Wales, or having restrictions on travel into Wales and other parts of the UK where there have been hotspots.

“You recall at one point the whole of Northern Ireland was in that position, at other points in time parts of Scotland and England have been there too.”

“This is still about learning about what works and what’s effective and at this point in time, we don’t have advice from our public health officials, or our scientific experts and advisors that it will be the right thing to protect public health in Wales to try to have impositions on travel between England and Wales.”

“What we’re asking people to do it to behave sensibly and to look after themselves and people around them. That’s why the First Minister asked people who are coming to Wales and enjoying what Wales has to offer in this fantastic summer that we’re currently enjoying, to make sure they do the right thing, both in terms of if they got access to testing, but also about when you’re here, please be respectful and follow the rules in place that are here to keep all of us safe, and to make sure that business can continue to function successfully.

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