Monday, September 21, 2020
News

‘Don’t kill granny’: Preston youngsters are urged to stick to social-distancing

Preston
4views


Council chiefs in Preston have launched a powerful ‘don’t kill granny’ message to encourage youngsters to follow the rules after it was revealed half of new coronavirus cases in the newly-locked down city are under the age of 30.

Fears are growing that ‘bold’ young people are ignoring social distancing and mixing in big crowds, putting them at risk of contracting the virus. 

Many of those who do get infected may be asymptomatic and might not even realise they are then passing it on to loved ones when returning home.

It comes as the Local Government Association calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs nationwide, as revellers once again packed into venues up and down the country last night.

The issue is particularly alarming in Preston, which went into a local lockdown overnight, where half of its 61 new cases were found to be among people aged under 30.

The rate of new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in Preston has jumped from 21.7 in the seven days to July 28 to 42.6 in the week up to August 4, according to new PHE data. 

Households mixing in pubs and homes has been blamed for a rise in cases in the city, a week after Preston’s Switch nightclub controversially reopened to punters.

But locals suggest the restrictions will not be taken seriously and pubs were said to be busy on Friday night despite the Government’s intervention just hours earlier. 

Preston's lockdown comes a week after Switch nightclub in the city controversially reopened to punters

Preston’s lockdown comes a week after Switch nightclub in the city controversially reopened to punters, pictured left and right

Preston is one of a number of areas in the north of England to be locked down in recent weeks

Preston is one of a number of areas in the north of England to be locked down in recent weeks

Preston town centre was quiet this morning after a local lockdown was enforced overnight

Preston town centre was quiet this morning after a local lockdown was enforced overnight

Children and staff told to self-isolate after outbreak at nursery 

Up to 16 children and staff have been forced to self-isolated at home after an outbreak of coronavirus at a nursery in locked-down Bury.

A spokeswoman for Mulberry Bush Nursery said a single individual ‘bubble’ of pupils has been affected by the virus – placing the number of infected children somewhere between eight and 16, according to government guidelines.

All parents were informed by telephone last Saturday but Mulberry Bush Nursery has remained open in line with Public Health England advice.

It comes as council chiefs in Preston launched a powerful ‘don’t kill granny’ message to encourage youngsters to follow the rules after it was revealed half of new coronavirus cases in the newly-locked down city are under the age of 30.

MailOnline have contacted the nursery for further information.

Jo Kinloch, of Mulberry Bush Nursery Group in Bury, told the Manchester Evening News: ‘Our Whitefield nursery has had some positive cases of Covid-19 over the past week. All parents of the nursery were informed by telephone on Saturday. 

‘We have been working closely with Public Health England and have followed all their advice in relation to this situation.

‘PHE are extremely supportive of all the measures we have had in place and the action taken over the last week.

‘We have also informed Ofsted as required by the current guidance.

‘The positive cases only affected one of the individual groups (‘bubbles’) of children and adults at the nursery and all appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure that the situation is contained.

‘As a result, some of our Whitefield team are now at home self-isolating, as are some of our children.

‘The nursery has remained open in accordance with the advice given by PHE and our parents have been incredibly supportive.

‘Those affected by the positive tests are all well at the moment thankfully. We have had regular communication with all our parents and assured them that we have taken all appropriate action to deal with this situation.

‘We take the safety and wellbeing of all of our children and team members extremely seriously, and have been determined to handle this difficult situation as well as possible.

‘We have had detailed Covid-19 operating procedures in place throughout the pandemic across the Group, having stayed open throughout the whole of the lockdown period, caring for children of key worker families and vulnerable children.’

All residents in the Lancashire city – home to 140,000 people – are now banned from mixing with any other households indoors or in a garden, in a last-ditch attempt to curb soaring rates of coronavirus. 

They have also been urged to avoid meeting with friends in any setting, such as pubs and restaurants. 

Health chiefs warned the measures will be kept under review but threatened tougher action if people don’t abide by the restrictions. 

The city council’s chief executive today urged youngsters in the area to follow the rules by delivering a stark message. 

Adrian Phillips told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I know our director of public health has said ‘don’t kill granny’ to young people to try and focus the message.

‘Young people are inevitably among the brave and the bold, they want to be adventurous and out and about but we know that they have the virus, are more likely to at the moment, they often have less symptoms but they do take it back to their household and the community spread we are seeing we believe in many cases are young people taking it home and catching the virus.

‘We’re going to have to repeat it and whether Radio 4 is the correct channel for that I’m not quite sure but we’re using multiple channels and we’re working with community groups who are doing peer to peer comms around.

‘It’s just trying so many different ways to get the message to all communities, to all areas of our city that the virus is still something to be really wary of.’

He also backed the LGA’s call for councils to have greater powers to close pubs to slow the spread of the pandemic.

‘You need responsive powers,’ he said. ‘It is useful to have something that can move quickly and we can make it entirely clear to the licensee or the operator what the consequences are.’

This morning, Charlene Gardner, 38, was in Preston city centre to buy school shoes for her two children.

She said: ‘I was happy the restrictions were brought in because I think we do need the police to get involved.

‘The pubs around us were still 30 or 40 deep outside last night.

‘It won’t mean any changes for us because we haven’t been seeing family anyway but I saw some reaction online last night and I think a lot of people aren’t going to listen to it.’

Preston residents Venkata Reddy Nallamilli, 59, and wife Padma, 48, said they did not think people had been following social distancing advice since lockdown restrictions had been eased.

Mr Nallamilli said: ‘After lockdown people have not been maintaining social distancing or wearing masks.

‘When I go to Sainsbury’s I see people not wearing masks and the staff aren’t enforcing it. Some people are not taking it seriously.’

He said he used to go to the pub on a Saturday but had not been since the pandemic.

He said: ‘I look after my health, I don’t want to go. When you go to pubs, we are all together.’

Hannah Heaton, 28, said she thought the new restrictions brought into force in Preston were confusing.

She said: ‘It doesn’t make sense that you can’t go to houses but you can meet people outside or go to pubs.

‘My grandparents rely on me to help them and now going to see them has been taken away from me. There’s nothing I can do about it.

‘I think certain people haven’t been taking it seriously because they don’t think it will affect them.’

Venkata Reddy Nallamilli, 59, and wife Padma, 48, said they did not think people had been following social distancing advice since lockdown restrictions had been eased

Venkata Reddy Nallamilli, 59, and wife Padma, 48, said they did not think people had been following social distancing advice since lockdown restrictions had been eased

Hannah Heaton, 28, said she thought the new restrictions brought into force in Preston were confusing

Hannah Heaton, 28, said she thought the new restrictions brought into force in Preston were confusing

Dorothy Kinder, 54, said residents in Preston would have to 'go with the flow' where the new restrictions were concerned

Dorothy Kinder, 54, said residents in Preston would have to ‘go with the flow’ where the new restrictions were concerned

A man wears a face mask at Preston Market yesterday before the city went into lockdown overnight

A man wears a face mask at Preston Market yesterday before the city went into lockdown overnight

Passengers in Preston were seen respecting social distancing and wearing masks before new restrictions came into effect from today

Passengers in Preston were seen respecting social distancing and wearing masks before new restrictions came into effect from today

LGA calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down pubs not following the rules

Licensing laws currently do not allow councils to take action on public health grounds, such as where Covid-19 guidelines are not being followed, instead relying on general health and safety legislation, which is less specific and makes it harder to intervene.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, wants to see the introduction of a temporary public health or Covid-19 objective, allowing town halls to take action where premises are not protecting the public during the pandemic – such as collecting people’s contact details or maintaining social distancing.

Current government guidance says pubs are only asked to voluntarily roll out such rules, but the LGA insists it should be made mandatory and legally enforceable.  

It says most are working hard to comply with the guidance but councils have concerns that some pubs are not collecting contact details of customers so they can be reached in the event of a local outbreak.

Local authorities have recently been given powers to close premises, but these can only be used where there is already a serious and imminent risk to public health. 

The LGA says extending licensing powers would mean they can act quickly and proactively in cracking down on places that flout the guidance, to prevent problems in the first place instead of only being able to act when it is too late.

It says the sanctions available under the Licensing Act – such as requiring a business to apply new conditions to operate safely, or in the worst cases revoking a licence – would be better suited to preventing the risk of infection spreading than the tools available under health and safety laws.

Dorothy Kinder, 54, said residents in Preston would have to ‘go with the flow’ where the new restrictions were concerned.

She said: ‘We’re in a day and age where it is about the economy and people have to go back to work.

‘I wouldn’t particularly say I agree with it but we just have to go along with what we are told.’

Many people in the Fishergate shopping street were wearing masks, and one man with a stand selling face masks, who did not want to be named, said the city was less busy than the previous weekend.

But he said he did not think people were taking restrictions seriously.

He said: ‘You see the older people wearing masks but the younger ones don’t.

‘The problem is in the pubs and they don’t wear masks there.’ 

The Government said guidance will make clear that people should not be gathering with other households anywhere indoors.

The restrictions on gatherings will be reviewed again next week, with any changes to be announced by August 14.

Preston’s new restrictions came into force at midnight and mean residents cannot have other people in their homes and gardens, cannot visit others’ homes or gardens, even if they are in an unaffected area, and are not permitted to mix with other households in indoor venues.

Social bubbles are exempt from the restrictions, and residents can meet in groups of up to six – or more than six if exclusively from two households – in outdoor areas such as parks and beer gardens.

Households can also visit indoor hospitality venues, as long as they do not mix with others.

Meanwhile, the LGA is calling for new powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs, as licensing laws currently do not allow councils to take action on public health grounds, such as where Covid-19 guidelines are not being followed.

Instead, they have to rely on general health and safety legislation, which is less specific and makes it harder to intervene.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, wants to see the introduction of a temporary public health or Covid-19 objective, allowing town halls to take action where premises are not protecting the public during the pandemic – such as collecting people’s contact details or maintaining social distancing.

Current government guidance says pubs are only asked to voluntarily roll out such rules, but the LGA insists it should be made mandatory and legally enforceable.  

It says most are working hard to comply with the guidance but councils have concerns that some pubs are not collecting contact details of customers so they can be reached in the event of a local outbreak.

Preston city council's chief executive Adrian Phillips has welcomed calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down pubs which don't follow the rules

Preston city council’s chief executive Adrian Phillips has welcomed calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down pubs which don’t follow the rules

Local authorities have recently been given powers to close premises, but these can only be used where there is already a serious and imminent risk to public health. 

The LGA says extending licensing powers would mean they can act quickly and proactively in cracking down on places that flout the guidance, to prevent problems in the first place instead of only being able to act when it is too late.

It says the sanctions available under the Licensing Act – such as requiring a business to apply new conditions to operate safely, or in the worst cases revoking a licence – would be better suited to preventing the risk of infection spreading than the tools available under health and safety laws.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘The vast majority of businesses are implementing the necessary measures to protect people’s safety, and councils are working hard to support premises in these efforts.

‘However, some councils are beginning to see isolated cases where the guidelines are not being followed and they are limited in what they can do to stop it.

‘This is clearly a danger to communities, putting people at risk of infection.

‘It needs to be mandatory for premises to follow this government safety guidance and councils need the right powers to intervene and take action if necessary.

‘It does not take long for this virus to spread if allowed. While councils do not want to have to shut anywhere down, business owners need to know that councils have the power to act if local communities are put at risk.’ 

Britons took to the nation’s pubs and bars last night to enjoy a drink after a day of scorching weather – as critics accused many who mingled in large groups of ‘undoing the hard work of lockdown’.

Revellers crowded into bars and poured out into the streets, with many foregoing facemasks and ignoring social distancing measures into the early hours.

Social distancing was nowhere to be seen in Portsmouth as groups mixed in tight spaces last night, without wearing face coverings

Social distancing was nowhere to be seen in Portsmouth as groups mixed in tight spaces last night, without wearing face coverings

One reveller enjoyed the end of Leicester's lockdown a little too much. He was snapped taking a nap on some benches after a night out on Friday

One reveller enjoyed the end of Leicester’s lockdown a little too much. He was snapped taking a nap on some benches after a night out on Friday

The Local Government Association calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs nationwide, as revellers once again packed into venues up and down the country last night

The Local Government Association calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs nationwide, as revellers once again packed into venues up and down the country last night

Drinkers looked a little worse for wear in Leicester, as they enjoyed the end of a strict local lockdown in the city. 

One man took a short nap on a bench as others enjoyed chatting in groups. 

Many appeared unbothered by fears of coronavirus as crowds mixed without masks – despite rising cases in the UK driving fears of a second wave. 

Britain yesterday recorded another 871 Covid-19 cases as official data shows the number of people getting diagnosed with the life-threatening disease each day has dropped for the first time in a fortnight.

Department of Health statistics reveal 834 new infections are being registered each day — down slightly from the rolling seven-day average of 835 yesterday. But the number of patients testing positive daily is still much higher than the four-month low figure of 546 on July 8.

Cases have steadily risen since over the past month, fuelling fears of a second wave. But separate figures released yesterday suggested the number of people getting infected with coronavirus in England may have actually dropped 12 per cent in a week.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak through swab tests of thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England catching Covid-19 each day. Its estimate of 4,200 daily cases last week prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown. 

Government scientific advisers yesterday warned the coronavirus reproduction rate could now be as high as one right across the UK. SAGE estimates the R value – the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is now between 0.8 and 1.0, up from last week’s prediction that it was hovering around 0.8 and 0.9.

Experts say the R needs to stay below one or Governments risk losing control of the epidemic and the virus could spiral back out of control.



Source link

Leave a Response