Covid Watch 94: Tracey and Andy talk to Rachel Robinson, Shropshire’s Director of Public Health

Covid Watch 94: Tracey and Andy talk to Rachel Robinson, Shropshire’s Director of Public Health

One the eve of the lifting lockdown, Andy and Tracey interviewed Rachel Robinson. We discussed whether Shropshire is in the right tier and the growing problem mental health during the epidemic. We also look at the availability of testing. We ask Rachel whether we are in the right tier and whether will be in Tier 1 by Christmas.

The good news is that the number of cases across Shropshire are falling though there are still hotspots nationally and locally. The most recent data for Ludlow show it had fewer than three cases in the seven days to 26 November.

This webcast comes as the first Covid-19 vaccine has gained approval from UK regulators. We’ll be talking about that in a future edition.

There are still some hotspots in our area. Cases increased in the Hinstock and Hodnet area to 44 over the seven days to 26 November. That equates to a rate of 566 cases per 100,000 people. There are also a growing number of cases in Newport, 62 cases and an infection rate of 507. Cases in Shrewsbury are falling slowly. There were 103 cases in the seven days to 26 November (a rate of 139), down from 130 during the previous seven days (rate 178).

In Ludlow, the latest data has been supressed. That means there were fewer than three cases. That’s good news and a big drop from 19 in the previous seven days. But, of course, this does not mean that a near zero rate will be maintained.

Today is the first day of Tier 2. It’s more restrictive than we had at the start of lockdown. Boris Johnson yesterday promised a review on 16 December opening up the possibility that Shropshire could be at the lowest level of alert, Tier 1, by Christmas. Under pressure from his backbenchers, Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock also suggested the fortnightly review will be localised. This concession was aimed at areas like Kent, where there are low rates in Turnbridge Wells, where rates were below 120 cases per 100,000 people over the seven days to 26 November and falling. It is the same area of restrictions as the Isle of Sheppey, 40 miles away, where rates were above 1,000 in places and increasing. But from what I can see, ministers fell short of making a firm commitment to a more localised approach.

While more localised restrictions could mean that Shropshire’s unitary area (rate 128) is treated separately from Telford and Wrekin (rate 215), this is unlikely as we have a common health system.

Tier 2 restrictions

  • You can’t socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.
  • You can meet in a group of up to six outside – including in a garden, or a public place such as a park.
  • Covid-secure shops, gyms and personal care services, such as hairdressing, can reopen.
  • Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can only be served with a meal.
  • Pubs and restaurants must shut at 11pm, with last orders at 12pm.
  • Sports can resume with up to 2,000 spectators or 50% capacity, whichever is smaller.
  • Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, with some restrictions.
  • Non-essential foreign travel allowed, subject to quarantine rules
  • People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas.

The full details of the restrictions.

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