Suffolk plunged into second coronavirus lockdown as government shuts shops and demands people work from home
Shops have been forced to close and people ordered to work from home from today as Suffolk has been plunged into a second coronavirus lockdown.
From today stores deemed non-essential will be closed after MPs last night approved plans to put England into another shutdown.
Under the strict measures, which currently last until December 2, people have to stay at home, apart from when attending school, college, university, work or to go food shopping.
The rules mean that for at least the next 27 days:
- Pubs and restaurants must close, but food takeaways and deliveries will be allowed
- All non-essential retail must close.
- Mixing households will be banned, except for support of childcare reasons. You are allowed to exercise outdoors with one person from outside your household.
- A restriction on travel, including international travel except for work. Travel within the UK is also discouraged.
- Staying at home is encouraged except for education, work if impossible from home, medial reasons, shopping for essentials, caring for others of exercise.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday Matt Hancock, the health secretary and MP for West Suffolk, described the measures as 'extraordinary' but that the virus posed an 'extraordinary threat to our nation's health and prosperity'.
"Our historic liberties are hard won and precious and they should not be infringed save for the gravest of times, and these are grave times indeed," said Mr Hancock.
The MP for Newmarket , Mildenhall and Haverhill warned the health service could become overloaded, and added: "We must drive down this virus together and take these tough but time limited measures, making sacrifices now for the safety of all. It won't be easy, I know that, but in a pandemic there are no easy choices."
As MPs were voting on the new measures, Suffolk Police urged people to follow the new rules, and threatened to hand out fines to those who didn't.
"Not following the measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus is unacceptable, so we won’t tolerate time wasters who knowingly break the rules," said temporary chief superintendent Kim Warner.
"People recklessly ignoring the regulations by organising large gatherings, music events, or holding large parties should expect to receive a fixed penalty notice."
On the eve of new national restrictions shoppers were busy gathering supplies, and thirsty drinkers flocked to pubs to get their last pints in before they shut at 10pm.
Gym bunnies hit the spinning bikes, too, for one last session before they are forced back to home workouts for the next 27 days, and many rushed to their hairdresser to get a trim before the government stopped them.
The latest lockdown comes as official government data showed all but one local authority area in Suffolk with dropping rates of new infections - and that all were below the England average.
In West Suffolk the seven day rolling average of new cases peaked at 28.3 confirmed infections on October 23 and since then the trend appears to be down - but the district was the epicentre of new cases.
In Ipswich confirmed cases in the second-wave appear to have peaked on October 21, with a seven day average of 19.6 cases per day, which is lower than the initial spike in the Spring.
Mid Suffolk on October 21 cases were at the highest so far during the current spike, with an week average of 9.6, and has shown a very gentle decline since. Only in Babergh does the seven day average trend continue up.
Rates could change as more data is added into the system - but only the most recent days of data for which the average trend is not used for.
But the rate of deaths is now expected to continue climbing, with it being considered a lagging indicator.
Yesterday Sir Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive, thrust the health service into its highest alert level in anticipation of a wave of coronavirus hospital admissions in the coming weeks.
Sir Simon claimed the move into level four was in response to the 'serious situation ahead' and warned non-Covid treatment would be disrupted again if the outbreak 'takes off'.
There is always a rise in demand for intensive care beds in the winter, with some areas running out of capacity entirely, but health bosses fear the added pressure of the coronavirus would see the service completely overstretched.