LOCKDOWN measures could be imposed on Rugby if the borough’s Covid-19 infection rate does not continue to fall, local authorities have warned.
A public heath expert says the town could face extra restrictions – such as a ban on households mixing, and expanding use of face coverings to all enclosed public spaces – because the infection rate is ‘still too high’.
With cases of Coronavirus on the rise in Rugby over the last few weeks, Warwickshire Public Health and Rugby Borough Council are urging residents to play their part in reducing the spread by living by the rules of ‘hands, space, face’.
Residents are being reminded to wash their hands regularly, keep at least two metres from those they don’t live with, and wear a face covering in enclosed spaces such as shops and public transport.
The number of cases per 100,000 of the population in the Borough has risen to close to 70 in recent weeks. Although the number is lower than in other towns and cities that have seen local lockdowns imposed – including Birmingham, Manchester and Solihull – Rugby could end up being classed as an area of concern if cases do not continue to fall.
Warwickshire’s Director of Public Health Dr Shade Agboola said: “We have seen an increase of cases across Warwickshire over the last few weeks and while Warwickshire as a whole is lower than most comparable places, the infection rate in Rugby is still too high.
“This is clearly of concern and something we want to get on top of before Rugby is named as an area of concern. It’s only through each and every one of us taking action to prevent further spread of this disease that we will stop Rugby going into any kind of lockdown measures.”
She said household transmission had been identified as the main cause of the increase in cases in the Borough, so keeping to the ‘rule of six’ was essential.
She added: “We have also seen an increase in cases in people visiting public houses and restaurants and we have been working closely with local businesses to ensure that people visiting the premises are adhering to the rules.
“To reduce the rise in cases, the rules are simple. Wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering when asked to do so, and keep your space from those you do not live with.
“Only by stepping up and taking responsibility for ourselves and each other can we reduce the number of cases in Rugby.”
Rugby Borough Council’s executive director Mannie Ketley said: “We are grateful to all of our residents and businesses who remain vigilant and who are following the guidelines to keep the rate of transmission down.
“I want to reassure residents that we are working with partners across the region to do everything that we can to reduce the spread of the virus within our communities.
“This week we have provided a new walk-in test site for the Department of Health and Social Care to make sure that we have the testing capacity that we need in Rugby.
“And, to protect the most vulnerable residents, Care Homes have been asked to close to visitors so that they continue to remain free of the virus.
“In the town centre our Community Wardens and environmental health teams are talking to residents and businesses about the steps that they can take to keep everyone safe.
“To keep doing the things we enjoy we must all follow the rules and continue to do what’s right for Rugby.”
To help protect communities and keep numbers from rising, residents are reminded to:
- Wash your hands regularly, and when that’s not possible use hand sanitiser
- Keep at least two metres from people you don’t live with
- Wear a face covering in enclosed places, on public transport and in shops unless you are exempt
- Know the symptoms of Covid-19 and book a test as soon as symptoms appear
- Follow the rules and self-isolate if you have symptoms, if you have a positive Covid test, or if you are asked to by the NHS Test and Trace service
- Download the NHS Test and Trace App and leave your details when at social venues.
Visit https://www.rugby.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information and advice on staying safe.