Category: Health

Covid Watch 149: Vote now. Is Boris Johnson right to lift coronavirus restrictions on 19 July?

“Freedom Day” has already delayed from mid-June. Last night, Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid set out plans for Step 4, England’s exit from almost all restrictions. There will be no limits on gatherings. Pubs and hospitality businesses will return to normal. People will no longer be encouraged to work from home. Face masks will not be compulsory. Rules on schools are to be announced today and international travel shortly. Is this the right move? Is now the right time to lift restrictions? Or should we wait longer before easing up? Let us know your view by voting below.

Covid Watch 148: Coronavirus cases shoot up in Shropshire and Telford

The news is mixed. Coronavirus cases are beginning to rise sharply in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. We have new cases here in Ludlow. We are not yet seeing the levels of infection witnessed during the second wave. But infections can grow rapidly among unvaccinated populations and Shropshire is witnessing a accelerating number of cases very week. At beginning of June, seven news cases were identified daily. By the end of June, that had grown to 63 cases a day. If that were to continue, we could be seeing more than 500 new cases a day by the end of July. We are in a race between vaccination and the disease. Better news is that the virus is having less impact because it is spreading in the younger fitter population. However, some young people will still suffer serious harm from catching the disease.

Covid Watch 147: Ludlow testing centre move and continued King Street closure

The government has decided that Coronavirus restrictions will not be lifted from tomorrow. That means that social distancing measures across Shropshire will remain in place for another month, or until Boris Johnson lifts the restrictions. In Ludlow this applies to King Street which will be closed during the middle of the day on Fridays and Saturdays. Local infections remain very low. The full scale testing site has been dismantled and Ludlow will now be served by a mobile testing unit based at the Eco Park.

Covid Watch 146: Cases still low but rising as Delta variant spreads

We are all tired of the epidemic. We all want life to get back to normal. But there is growing doubt that we will see a full relaxation of restrictions on 21 June. There is a notable growth in cases in England. In Scotland also but not in Wales where restrictions have been stricter for longer. Case levels in England are relatively low, averaging around 6,000 cases a day so far this month. Over the equivalent period in January at the peak of the second wave, we were witnessing 47,000 cases a day. But positive tests are increasing and again growing here in Shropshire. There are no reported cases here in Ludlow and south west Shropshire. But there are a rising number of cases in the Church Stretton and Much Wenlock areas, further north in Shrewsbury and around Baschurch. And in Telford & Wrekin. Though the number of cases is low, the trend is up and that is what is worrying health professionals.

Covid Watch 145: All quiet in Shropshire but national concern over Delta variant

It is looking good here. First dose vaccination rates are close to 100% and most people who have been offered second dose have taken it up. There have been no reported cases of Covid-19 in Ludlow for twelve weeks. Over the last seven days, 29 cases have been reported in Shropshire and 69 in Telford & Wrekin. Compare that to the first seven days of February, when there were 613 reported cases in Shropshire and 462 in Telford & Wrekin. The wider picture is less settling. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly in urban areas though it is not as yet putting a strain on hospital services. But its spread means that Boris Johnson’s Midsummer’s Night Dream of full re-opening on 21 June may still prove to be a lot of bottom.

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