Suffolk was 'short time' away from reaching Tier 2 criteria prior to national lockdown announcement, public health chiefs reveal
Suffolk was on the cusp of entering Tier 2 prior to the government’s national lockdown announcement, public health chiefs have said – and could have been just a fortnight away.
It comes as a warning to those who have argued a lockdown in Suffolk is not warranted because infection rates were lower than other parts of the country.
Public Health Suffolk’s director Stuart Keeble has urged people to embrace the latest national lockdown measures, and warned that without them the county would have been plunged into Tier 2 restrictions anyway.
Sources indicate that could have been just a fortnight away.
“This national lockdown isn’t an injustice for Suffolk,” Mr Keeble said.
“Our infection rates continue to accelerate, and without this decisive action it would be just a short time before parts of Suffolk would meet some of the Tier 2 criteria.
“Coronavirus is an acute and complicated challenge, one which affects our lives and livelihoods.
“We must abide by the national lockdown from Thursday to ensure that we can enjoy our freedoms in the future.
“While some people may question this decision and say local case numbers remain relatively low compared to other parts of the UK, this pandemic does not respect county boundaries and many communities in Suffolk have already experienced the impact of Covid.”
Suffolk County Council bosses held a summit on Monday morning to map out the response needed ahead of Thursday, although many measures such as PPE supplies and Covid-secure measures for adult social care staff have remained in place since the first lockdown.
Mr Keeble and the public health team have urged people to continue to follow the guidance around washing hands, wearing face masks and social distancing.
He added: “It is so important that we all continue to do the right things to protect our families, friends, neighbours and ourselves from this terrible virus by washing our hands, wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing and respecting the restrictions of this coming period of lockdown.
“This will be a testing time for many businesses and local people who may feel particularly worried or anxious about what’s to come in the next few weeks but help is available.”
Those in need are urged to phone the Suffolk Advice and Support Service phoneline on 0800 068 3131 where financial support, professional advice and help with living costs can be sought.
District councils across the county have stressed they will continue to deliver essential services such as waste collection, and would be working with public health, police, emergency and health services to keep people safe.
Those authorities were responsible for dishing out support such as business grants and homelessness provision during the first lockdown, with more information on support this time around expected this week once the Government has finalised the package available.