James Wild: A worrying rise in Covid-19 rates
The latest column during the pandemic period by North West Norfolk MP James Wild, Friday, November 13, 2020
Covid-19 rates have risen across West Norfolk.
As I write, West Norfolk’s seven-day rate per 100,000 is 145.3.
Unfortunately Norfolk is on the same upward trajectory as other parts of the country which underlines why the national restrictions were necessary to protect local NHS services.
We entered these controls from Tier One and how we all act over the next 3 weeks will determine the level at which we exit them.
Now is the time to redouble our efforts to protect West Norfolk. Stay at home as much as you can; don’t meet people indoors; only meet one person outside; only make essential journeys; remember: hands, face, space; and self-isolate if you have Covid-19 symptoms or have received a positive test result.
I know this is hard for everyone but it is about protecting our family, friends and community.
Remember Ask Lily is there to support vulnerable people in West Norfolk by working with partner charities and Voluntary Norfolk – anyone can refer to Lily or you can ask for help yourself.
This week a new Winter Covid Grant Scheme was announced with Norfolk getting £2.7 million to ensure local families that need extra support with food and bills can access it.
I’m pleased that the Prime Minister announced the extension of the Holiday Activities and Food programme during school holidays next year.
This is part of targeted action to support low income families and activities that give children the best opportunity to succeed and I believe is a better approach than asking schools to provide vouchers at times when they are closed.
One of the reasons I wanted to avoid national covid restrictions was the impact on businesses and jobs. I reluctantly supported them on the basis that financial support was put in place.
I welcome the extension of the furlough scheme until March and the increased support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, with the third grant covering November to January of up to £7,500.
During national restrictions firms in North West Norfolk required to close will be eligible for monthly grants of up to £3,000 although the amount depends on the rateable value of the business. These grants will be administered by the borough council whose revenue team did a great job processing earlier grants.
The council will also receive just over £3 million for an Additional Restrictions Grant.
In setting up the scheme, I’ve asked them to take account of firms in supply chains who may not be required to close but whose main customers have depriving them of a way to sell their products.
Finally, this week the Government issued the first 600,000 lateral flow test kits which give results in less than an hour. I want to see Norfolk having these tests to help identify cases and control the virus.
On testing, I look forward to having a local testing site in Lynn, rather than just a mobile site. This is an issue I raised with the Health Secretary and I’ve worked with Norfolk’s Public Health Director, NHS Test and Trace, and the borough council to secure it.