Council calls for action to avoid lockdown in Buckinghamshire

Since the end of lockdown, the vast majority of Buckinghamshire residents have been playing their part, adhering to the government guidance to help us all stay safe and doing our county proud.

However, over the last 14 days we have seen cases in Buckinghamshire rise steeply.

In just over a month, the COVID infection rate per 100,000 Buckinghamshire residents has risen from very low levels of single figures to 87 per 100,000. Whilst this increase has initially been amongst those aged under 30 years, it is now spreading into the older population where this terrible virus can be life threatening. It is also widely spreading within all our communities.

If this increase continues, there is the very real prospect that Buckinghamshire will be required to move into a higher ‘Tier’ of restrictions with significant consequences on people’s personal freedoms, the local and national economy, our jobs, our High Streets and people’s social and mental health. If we do not want this to happen then it is really important that we all come together and do our very best to stop the spread of this dreadful virus. The best evidence is that the virus is being spread in Buckinghamshire by ‘community transmission’ in other words meeting and talking with other people outside our households either indoors or close up outdoors.

Fighting this virus will involve a change of mind set. We must all follow the ‘Hands, Face, and Space’ guidelines, as well as the new ‘Rule of Six’ for meeting people. Pubs and restaurants are closing at 10pm and we should avoid mixing with others as we leave. Also, please don’t just buy alcohol from an off licence or supermarket and take friends home to carry on socialising, unless you are following the rule of six and socially distancing. Business owners must keep lists of visitors and we should work from home wherever possible and agreed with your company/organisation.

If contacted by Test and Trace please do not ignore this. From 28 September, you could be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19 or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate. You can read the full guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection on GOV.UK.

Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, Councillor Martin Tett, said: “Over recent months we have all enjoyed our extra freedoms after lockdown. I want us to carry on living our lives and rebuilding our economy but we have to recognise that this virus never went away. What we must all do is stop and consider our responsibility to ourselves and each other. Mixing with friends is great but don’t do it indoors. I know that the weather is colder and wetter but think about meeting outdoors or going for a walk together instead. Also don’t have more than six people together at any one time and observe social distancing.

To ensure everyone living and working in Buckinghamshire stays safe and we prevent cases rising further, at the Council we are ramping up our communications so that the messaging is clear and available to all. We are sending out posters and flyers to all local businesses, delivering letters to all households, placing posters in public places, posting messages on our social media accounts – follow us @BucksCouncil – and working with the local media to ensure the prevention messages are available to everyone. If we all work together, we can beat this evil virus. If we don’t then our lives and communities could be changed for ever. “