Coronavirus: Stoke-on-Trent remains on watchlist as area of concern

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Today’s national watch list has been published and as expected, Stoke-on-Trent City Council remains as an ‘area of concern’ for coronavirus cases (Friday).

The government announces each week areas of the country that fall into three categories, the most severe being ‘in intervention’, where local and national leaders can enforce restrictions such as local lockdowns; ‘in receipt of enhanced support’, where a range of extra resources are put in place for additional testing and contact tracing; and ‘areas of concern’, where authorities, Public Health England and the NHS Test and Trace service work together to target activities in particular areas, and are monitored nationally.

The data used by government in its watch list is based on the previous two weeks of data and the publication comes at a time when the ‘R’ rate nationally (the number of cases per 100,000 of the population is confirmed as rising to between 1 and 1.2 as cases rise by 10,000 in a week nationally.

It also comes as neighbouring areas such as Wolverhampton and Oadby & Wigston residents will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from 22 September. Areas of the North West are also seeing greater restrictions introduced including Merseyside and Warrington.

Stoke-on-Trent city Council leader Abi Brown said: “While we’ve dropped down from 43rd to 58th in the national watch list, this really is no time to be complacent.

“All around us we are seeing areas being placed in lockdown and many of these areas saw cases increase significantly in just one week or a few days.

“I really cannot stress enough how important it is that we do all we can to avoid lockdown in Stoke-on-Trent and keep people safe. Nationally, we’ve seen a massive increase in cases in the UK and we know from other countries that this will shortly lead to more hospital admissions and inevitably more deaths of loved ones.

“While we’ve been praised nationally for the work we’re doing to keep cases down, I would still urge each and every resident to do all they can to stop the spread of coronavirus. Follow the rule of six, keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and self-isolate if you have symptoms. Following these steps will make all the difference to how this will play out in the city.

“We’re continuing with the local community test centre at Fenton Manor next week so we can support residents who need tests and we’ll continue to do all we can to lobby for more testing in the city. This is about us working alongside our partners in Staffordshire to provide local solutions for our residents and our city. Let’s work together to kick covid out of Stoke-on-Trent.”