Everyone urged to 'unite together' to combat Covid-19 as the infection rate across Leicestershire hits almost 400 people per 100,000

That’s well above the current national Covid-19 rate for England of 274.3

By Philip Hibble
Friday, 20th November 2020, 11:47 am
Updated Friday, 20th November 2020, 11:48 am

Health bosses, political leaders and police chiefs today (Friday) urged everyone to work flat out to combat Covid-19 as the infection rate across Leicestershire hit almost 400 people per 100,000.

The stirring rallying cry came as the latest figures show that 395.8 people in every 100,000 are being struck down by the coronavirus throughout the county.

That’s well above the current national Covid-19 rate for England of 274.3.

Health bosses, political leaders and police chiefs today (Friday) urged everyone to work flat out to combat Covid-19 as the infection rate across Leicestershire hits almost 400 people per 100,000.

Cllr Nick Rushton, who heads up Leicestershire County Council, told a special cross-body emergency Zoom meeting this morning: “This is a joint enterprise – we all have to act and unite together.

“Covid knows no boundaries.

“We are 18 days into the second lockdown and it’s not felt like the first lockdown – but this is very serious.”

The Conservative council boss stressed: “People must make an effort to observe all the rules.

“If you have any symptoms get tested straight away.

“We do not want to waste our 30 days of lockdown and end up in Tier 3 restrictions.

“My message to us all is please observe the rules – hands, face and space!”

Mike Sandys, the Director of Public Health for Leicestershire, said: “This isn’t where I wanted us to be.

“We were running at just under 300 cases per 100,000 when we went into this lockdown.

“I was looking to push this figure down.

“But the rate across Leicestershire is now almost 400 – well above the national average.”

He insisted: “There is nothing new in our message to people.

“Please keep your distance, wear masks or face coverings and wash your hands.”

Mike said there had been about 17,500 cases of Covid-19 in a county-wide population of about 800,000 since the crisis erupted earlier this year.

Andy Williams, chief executive of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups, warned the pandemic was having a major impact on the NHS.

“This will be a winter like no other.

“We have had to change the way we deliver care – and productivity is lower – as we try to keep people safe.

“We can’t treat people as quickly.

“Please bear with us as we try to respond and help us.

“We are all citizens, we can all do our bit,” said Andy.

“It might be low-tech but it’s unbelievably effective to do the basics such as wearing a mask, keeping our distance and washing our hands.

“So thank you to everybody for adhering to the public health messaging.”

Simon Cole, the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, said officers had attended over 16,000 reports “around Covid”, from suspected breaches to concerns, across the county this year.

He said they had made 1,200 visits to licensed premises such as pubs and clubs and handed out 600 tickets to offenders who flouted the rules.

They included eight maximum £10,000 fines for the worst culprits.

“There has been a huge amount of activity as we try to keep local people safe from this illness.

“We have issued about a third of all tickets to people aged 18-24,” said Mr Cole, as he implored young people to “engage” more with current Covid rules.

They all spoke out after Cllr Phil King, the leader of Harborough council, said earlier this week the number of people hit by the coronavirus in the district has spiked to a new peak of 301.7 per 100,000.

He warned Harborough could be lifted from the Medium Alert Tier 1 into the Government’s High Alert Tier 2 or even the Very High Alert Tier 3 facing much tougher restrictions.

“No one can be under any illusion that the coronavirus rate is accelerating in Harborough,” Cllr King told a full council meeting on Monday night (November 16).

He said people expected Harborough would be exiting the second national lockdown on Wednesday December 2 as it returned to normal.

“But if the rate does not start to come down soon in a sizeable way it’s clear to me that that’s a very unlikely scenario.

“In fact it’s very likely that we may exit into Tier 3 with very high restrictions or possibly go into Tier 2,” warned the council leader.

“There are two particular areas of concern.

“One is young people aged from 17-21 and the other group is the over-60s.

“It is essential that everyone, of all ages, across the whole of Harborough district follows the Government guidelines and restrictions – as seemingly contradictory as they can be.”