People in Nottingham urged by council not to visit other people's homes

6 October 2020, 15:01 | Updated: 6 October 2020, 17:39

People in Nottingham are being urged not to visit other people's homes
People in Nottingham are being urged not to visit other people's homes. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

People in Nottingham are being urged by the council not to visit other people's homes due to a rise in Covid infections, despite the government not introducing local measures in the city.

Nottingham City Council has told people not to socialise in other houses following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the city, while not being under any specific government local restrictions.

The local authority hopes that if people act now to stop the spread of the virus, it will reduce the chances of measures being enforced upon them by the government.

Nottingham has the sixth-highest Covid-19 rate in England - up from 71.2 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 26 September to 440.1 per 100,000 - but there are currently no local measures in place.

However, health officials are expecting the city to be hit with additional measures after 1,465 new cases were recorded in the seven days to 3 October.

The surge of cases comes amid a recent outbreak at the University of Nottingham, where 425 students tested positive for the virus during the week ending last Friday.

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The director of public health for Nottingham, Alison Challenger, said current restrictions in the city "are no longer enough to stop the spread of the virus".

She explained that the rise in cases in the city represented "a significant and worrying change".

“It means the measures we currently have in place are no longer enough to stop the spread of the virus in our city. We will have to do more to keep people safe in Nottingham," Ms Challenger said.

“We would urge people to take action now and not mix indoors with people from other households. It remains OK to mix with those in your support bubbles unless someone has tested positive or has symptoms."

She reminded people who display Covid-19 symptoms to self-isolate, before addressing the issue of cases on campuses.

“And we strongly advise young people, including students in the city, to remain in their social bubbles and not mix in their homes with people from other households.”

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The numbers in Nottingham University included 226 students in private accommodation and 106 in halls of residence.

Eight members of staff were also classed as "active confirmed cases" over the same time.

A spokeswoman for the university, which has around 35,000 students, said: "Alongside the national Pillar 2 testing regime for people with symptoms of Covid-19, the university has also commenced its own asymptomatic testing programme which will identify cases earlier and more quickly.

"While this will mean that our case data will be higher than other universities, we can identify cases that otherwise would remain undetected and thereby reduce asymptomatic transmission and the number of future cases."

Cllr David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, added: “It is important to remember that there is no vaccine for Covid-19 at present. Our best defence is to wash our hands, wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.

"It is important to acknowledge that the majority of people are following the correct behaviours and playing their part in keeping our city safe – and we thank them for this.

“However, it is clear from the rate of infection that we must take more precautions. Nobody can afford to be complacent. Everyone needs to ask themselves, ‘am I doing enough to guard against a disease that could harm me, or the person next to me or my loved ones?’

"If not, you need to change your approach and stick rigidly to the rules, if we are to see a reduction in the number of cases that are currently sweeping through our city.

“This will not be easy for any of us. We have been living with Covid-19 in our city and our communities for over eight months. Our lives have been restricted, we feel inconvenienced, and we all have worry and anxiety over our health and wellbeing. Some of us, sadly, may have lost loved ones to the virus.

“We are reaching a critical point in managing the spread of the virus as we head towards winter. So, we have to keep going. We have to continue to work together by sticking to the rules and following a few important rules and guidelines. This will help to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Nottingham.”

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