Easing of wider lockdown rules tomorrow do not apply to Calderdale
In response to today’s Government announcement that current restrictions in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester will remain in place, the Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said:
“Local restrictions will remain in place in Calderdale as a vital measure to help us slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. The number of positive cases in Calderdale has remained worryingly high and we continue to be an area of high risk.
“I know that this will be disappointing for many people, particularly for those businesses, such as bowling alleys, casinos and soft play areas, which were hoping to re-open this weekend. For now that will not be possible as the current restrictions remain in place within Calderdale.
“I am confident, however, that the measures we have put in place are having an impact. Our local communities are working extremely hard with us, to do all they can to limit the spread of the virus and I would like to thank them for their efforts. We’ve also doubled the local testing programme which is allowing us to quickly identify new positive cases.
“Next week will see the launch of our local contact tracing service to support the national scheme, helping us to control the virus and limit its spread. And we are taking immediate action where we see that the guidelines are not being followed.
“If we are to see our local restrictions eased we must all play our part too by following the Public Health advice which has become so familiar, but which is so effective. We must limit our contact with other people and avoid visiting other households. We need to regularly wash our hands and we should keep 2m apart.
“We did this successfully in Calderdale throughout the lockdown, when the number of cases here remained low, and I know that we can do it again now so that we can soon remove these greater restrictions safely.”
Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Debs Harkins said:
“I know that today’s confirmation that Calderdale will continue to face additional restrictions will be disappointing news for our communities.
“The decision is not taken lightly by the Government but is a reflection of the severity of our position here in Calderdale.
“In parts of Halifax particularly, the infection rates are amongst the very highest in the country. There are no areas in Leicester, Blackburn with Darwen or Luton, where the infection rates are higher than those we can see in some parts of Halifax.
“Infection rates in Calderdale are currently increasing faster than in any other borough in the Yorkshire and Humber region and this is why the current restrictions must remain in place.
“The actions we are taking now, such as ramping up local testing, mean that we can expect to see our infection rate increase before it reduces. This is because we need to find more people with COVID-19, so that they can be supported to isolate to reduce the spread of the virus. This increase before the decrease has been seen in other areas that have successfully reduced the infection rate. But it does mean that we need to keep the restrictions in place for the moment.
“I know that we all want to get our freedoms back so we can visit family and friends outside our households. Many of us will know people who are medically vulnerable to the serious effects of COVID-19 and will want to ensure that the infection rate remains low to protect them, as the national shielding programme ends. Many of us will be concerned about our children’s education and recognise that for them to be able to return to school we may need to make sacrifices in other parts of our lives.
“But we know what to do. By following the public health guidelines on hand washing, avoiding contact with other people and social distancing we can protect ourselves and each other from infection. We did it during lockdown and we can do it again, together.”