Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

More than 100 coronavirus flare-ups dealt with weekly, says Health Secretary

More than 100 coronavirus flare-ups are being dealt with ‘swiftly and silently’ each week across the UK, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock described how officials had been working to ‘hunt down the virus’ by targeting areas of concern and increasing the numbers of tests taking place. This then allowed for them to take ‘local action’ instead of imposing national measures, he said.

Today marks exactly two weeks since Leicester was placed in the first city-wide lockdown following soaring levels of Covid-19 in the area. The restrictions are due to be reviewed by the government this week.

The Health Secretary also told how outbreaks are being nipped in the bud before they can ‘make the news’. His words come just as 73 cases of the virus were confirmed at a vegetable farm in Herefordshire, leading to hundreds of workers being quarantined as a precautionary measure.

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Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Hancock said: ‘Each week there are more than 100 local actions taken across the country – some of these will make the news, but many more are swiftly and silently dealt with.

‘This is thanks in large part to the incredible efforts of local authorities – all of whom have stepped up and published their local outbreak control plans in line with the end of June deadline.’

Hancock went on to add that increased testing capacity means the government has been able to take ‘more targeted local action and less national lockdown’ to allow the easing of restrictions to continue for the majority of the UK.

Door-to-door testing, which was utilised in the worst-hit areas of Leicester, will reportedly be used more widely to curb outbreaks in the coming months, while portable walk-in centres will also be stationed in areas where there is a flare-up.

On Sunday a further 21 deaths with coronavirus were recorded by the government, the lowest figure since lockdown began in March. However figures released on the weekeend are usually smaller than reality due to a delay in processing.

Public Health England (PHE) Midland confiemed yesterday that around 200 employees at vegetable producer AS Green and Co had been placed in self-isolation following a Covid-19 outbreak among the workforce.

Some 73 workers tested positive for the virus, leading to the whole group of workers, who live in shared accommodation at Rook Row Farm, to be isolated together in ‘one extended bubble’.

The council said it is arranging food and essential supplies for residents on the site while they self-isolate.

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