Plan in place to issue local lockdown in Harrogate if virus ‘spikes’

Entire North Yorkshire towns and some streets could be put back under lockdown as part of plans to control further coronavirus outbreaks, documents have revealed.

Friday, 3rd July 2020, 10:17 am
Updated Friday, 3rd July 2020, 10:20 am

North Yorkshire County Council has published its Covid-19 outbreak control plan which outlines how local lockdowns could be used.

Documents show that the council could be called upon to close down towns or streets, with the Joint Biosecurity Centre - which advises the government on the Covid alert level - using data and analysis to pass down instructions.

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Harrogate has been host to a coronavirus testing station at the Hydro Swimming Pool since the lockdown was enforced.

However, there is still uncertainty over the details of how the lockdown would be enforced.

Currently, lockdown powers sit with ministers and local politicians have called on the government to give more clarity on how they expect localised measures to work.

Leicester became the first English city to experience a ‘local lockdown’ this week when the Government announced there had been a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the region - over 900 in the space of two weeks in the east of the city.

Schools and businesses have closed their doors and the Mayor of Leicester has issued a plea to the Government for financial support.

Local lockdowns have already been introduced to good effect across Europe.

Public health officials have suggested people in areas with an outbreak might be contacted by council via leaflets or even visited by health workers to spread awareness of the virus. A few examples of outbreaks being dealt with locally have been seen recently at meat factories in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, and Anglesey in Wales.

The factories were closed, with all staff told to self-isolate and get tested.

The council’s outbreak control plan also reveals how Harrogate has the second highest virus mortality rate in the county, despite being the least deprived district with a low rate of cases.

At the other end of the scale, Scarborough - the most deprived district - has the highest rate of cases in the county and is fourth out of seven districts in terms of mortality.

It also shows how people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black ethnicity had between a 10 and 50 per cent higher risk of death from the virus than white British people.

“As more evidence emerges about how to prevent, and the impacts of Covid-19 we will need to adjust our approach accordingly”, the plan says.

Launching the plan, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, the director of public health for North Yorkshire, said: “Our plan outlines how we will respond, with our partners, to work effectively and at speed to manage outbreaks to help prevent any wider spread.

“It ensures there are clear protocols in place to respond wherever they might happen and outlines how we will focus on preventing infection in the first place through good education and guidance.

“As part of the NHS national Test and Trace programme the outcome will be that we can support the county, its residents, businesses, work force and visitors to return to normal life safely.”