Government formally announced today that England would enter a period of national lockdown from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December to help tackle the rising cases of COVID-19.
Dr Caroline Dimond, Torbay’s Director of Public Health, said: “I appreciate the next four weeks are going to be challenging but it is vital that we get this virus under control particularly as we move into the winter months. We have seen rising numbers of cases locally and, although our numbers have not been as high as other parts of the country, it has the rate in which they have been rising that has been concerning.
“These rising cases are putting pressure on our local NHS services and so we must act now to help ease that pressure and keep the residents of Torbay safe. Please follow the guidance as it becomes clearer over the next few days and continue to socially distance, wear face coverings where mandated, and maintain good hand hygiene.
“Social distancing is the best tool we have against this virus, it is our collective responsibility to help to reduce the transmission of the virus. By working together, following the guidance and adhering to the rules we will be able to reduce cases. Remember, anyone can pass COVID-19 to others, so please be vigilant and THINK COVID at all times.
“If you have symptoms of coronavirus it is essential that you self-isolate and arrange to get tested. You can book a test as normal via the Government website or by calling 119. While waiting for your test results you must continue to self-isolate, whether or not you still have the symptoms, to prevent the virus being passed on to others. I would also urge that you download the NHS COVID-19 app. It is the fastest way of knowing when you are at risk from the virus. The quicker you know, the quicker you can alert your love ones and your community.”
Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Going into lockdown now is crucial to protect the NHS and save lives. We need to build on the positives that have come out of the first wave of the pandemic to help each other through this difficult time. Even though, collectively, a sense of pandemic fatigue may be being felt, we have worked in partnership to develop systems that can be promptly mobilised to support our most vulnerable residents.
“Our community response to the pandemic this spring was phenomenal and I’m sure that our communities will recapture this spirit as we head into the second lockdown. We have received guidance from Central Government on how to support those who have been classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. Torbay Council will be contacting everyone in this group to understand how they can be best supported while the new national measures are in place. If you are in need during the lockdown, or you want to volunteer, you can call Torbay’s Coronavirus Community Helpline. The contact number for Torquay and Paignton is 01803 446022, and for Brixham it is 01803 857727.
“We are also acutely aware of the impact of lockdown will local jobs and businesses, and the wider economy. The Government furlough scheme is being extended to December and there will be grants available for those businesses that meet the criteria. We will be working hard to fast track any business grant allocations and we will also be updating our residents on all the guidance and support that is available as soon as we have the information.