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'Choose to protect others from Covid' plea as West Norfolk case rate soars

A new campaign is being launched to encourage people to help others stay safe against the continuing threat of coronavirus.

The move comes as new figures show Covid cases in West Norfolk nearly trebled in a week, even before remaining restrictions are lifted on Monday.

The IChoose initiative is calling on the public to retain measures such as regular hand washing and wearing masks in crowded places.

Young woman with face mask using mobile phone and buying groceries in the supermarket during virus pandemic.. (49206937)
Young woman with face mask using mobile phone and buying groceries in the supermarket during virus pandemic.. (49206937)

The campaign also recommends continuing to meet others outdoors and carrying out regular Covid testing.

Norfolk County Council leader Andrew Proctor said today: “There is no doubt we are in a better position than in the first and second waves, due to the success of the vaccination programme - but that does not mean we should drop our guard.

“The Prime Minister now wants us to exercise personal choice, which I totally support.

coronavirus (49040006)
coronavirus (49040006)

“That’s why today, we launch a campaign – IChoose - to encourage everyone to exercise that choice wisely.

“Please keep taking precautions to help protect yourselves and others and to keep safe. I’ve already made these choices, to protect others – I hope you will do the same.”

Latest figures, for the seven days to last Friday, July 9, showed that the rate of Covid infections in West Norfolk had soared from 45.6 cases per 100,000 people in the previous week to 132.1 - an increase of almost 190 per cent.

But, although the borough’s figure is significantly higher than those in the neighbouring districts of Breckland and North Norfolk, it is still much lower than both regional and national rates.

Across the county as a whole, the average of new cases daily has almost doubled, increasing from 115 to 224.

And, as of Wednesday this week, 13 people were being treated for coronavirus in Norfolk’s hospitals, with three in critical care.

Officials say many of the new cases are among young adults, although numbers are increasing across all age groups.

Dr Louise Smith, the county council’s director of public health, said the county was now in a third wave of the pandemic and officials are already looking at how the virus could continue to affect us over the coming months.

She said: “Whilst legal restrictions are being reduced, the underlying messages remain the same.

“To protect yourself take preventative actions. Please participate in testing to identify cases early and prevent spread. Positive cases and contacts are still required to self-isolate.

“We are already considering scenarios for how we could be affected in the winter and the possibility of new variants.”

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