‘Act now to save Christmas’ urge council leaders due to rise in coronavirus cases

Lady wearing face mask during coronavirus pandemic

Council leaders are urging people to stay home where possible to stop cases rising in North Somerset. - Credit: Pixabay

Tight restrictions could still be in place at Christmas if rates continue to rise in North Somerset - council leaders have warned.

The call comes as coronavirus cases continue to climb in North Somerset, with daily rates higher than during the pandemic’s peak in April.

North Somerset Council's executive member for health, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “What you do now will have a direct impact on what we can do at Christmas.

“If the trend we are seeing in our case rates continues, tight restrictions will have to stay in place for the festive period.

“The Government will be looking at the coronavirus case data to make decisions about how England will come out of this national lockdown.

"As weekly figures are reported five days after they are collected, this means what you do now will have a direct impact on the information they use to decide what restrictions need to be in place in December.

“We don't know what the restrictions will be or the pace of any potential vaccine roll-out.

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"We do know this week is a critical point to reverse the current pattern of infection, but that will only happen if we all play our part.

“But we can control what we all do together to limit the spread of the virus. The message is simple – act now to save Christmas."

People are being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and follow Government guidelines.

The council's director for public health, Matt Lenny, said: “Our residents are catching coronavirus from different places in the community, which means you are just as likely to get the virus from your family and friends as in a school or workplace.

"We must think about every setting and every interaction with others as a potential source of infection, but one that we can help prevent through following the basic hands, face and space rules.

Council leaders are concerned the news about the potential roll-out of a coronavirus vaccine in the coming months could mean people stop being as careful as they have been. 

Matt added: “While news of the potential vaccine is very welcome, we are some way off from ensuring those most at risk can be protected. We understand that when it is available it will be administered in priority order, with the oldest and most vulnerable members of our community and health staff vaccinated first, and then backwards through the age groups to people as young as 50. But this is likely to be months away rather than weeks, so we cannot afford any level of complacency.”

There is a lag of five days in case data, meaning the latest information is for November 11, which shows the seven-day rate for North Somerset is 278 per 100,000. The comparable South West seven-day rate is 187 and the England rate is 264.

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