New Covid-19 cases have been at zero or close to zero in Ludlow for weeks, and very low in the rest of south west Shropshire over the same period. Our county is coming close to being Covid-19 free, although there are likely to be local upsurges as restrictions ease. Although all over 50s have been offered a vaccination before the end of the month, half our population locally is under 50 and will not be vaccinated until mid-summer. And that is dependent on vaccination supplies.
But let’s not miss the good news. The town centre was buzzing yesterday morning and it felt like life is returning to normal. We will all welcome that.
The fall in cases in the graph above is testimony to our GPs, health workers and volunteers, as well as the residents of Ludlow who remained cautious throughout the peak of the epidemic.
In March 2019, we knew a pandemic was on the way, even if there were still a lot of sceptics locally and across the world. When I published the first blog post on coronvirus I did not remotely expect that so many posts would follow. This is the 115th post about coronavirus, that’s a third of my blog posts over the period. Many articles and podcasts on Covid-19 have been written with fellow councillor Tracey Huffer. Many have been advised by local GPs and Shropshire’s director of public health, including our guide to Covid vaccination. The guide is very dated now but at the time it was a unique product that went from concept to publication in ten days working with an advisory panel of medical experts. Coronavirus has featured in 32 of my newsletters. I am now looking forward to writing only occasionally on the topic. I hope that is not wishful thinking.
The situation in India is a worry that could delay easing of restrictions. We have strong political and social links with India and a lot of people travelling between the two countries. The surge in Covid-19 cases is due yet another variant which has already arrived in the UK. Yet India is not yet on the Red List of countries, which bars entry to everyone who has been in a red list country in the previous ten days, except British nationals who must hotel quarantine for 10 days. Boris Johnson is insisting on going to India at the end of the month for trade negotiations. There is inevitable suspicion that the delay of Red List status for India is to allow the negotiations to go smoothly and to ensure that the prime minister and his entourage do not end in quarantine on return. That can’t be good for infection control even if it might prove good for trade.
Although it is beginning to feel like the pandemic is all but over, there are still dangers. There are difficult political decisions to be made. Until Covid-19 is under control across the world, those decisions must be made promptly.