Swaffham councillor issues apology after failure to observe coronavirus guidelines
A councillor has apologised to the residents in her town after she failed to adhere to the government isolation guidelines following a positive Covid-19 test.
Swaffham town councillor Lindsay Beech has released a statement this afternoon to say she mistakenly misinterpreted the government advice, believing she was able to exercise once a day.
There was a social media uproar after the Independent councillor was seen walking around town at the weekend, despite being in a period of self-isolation.
Mrs Beech said: "I apologise profusely to the people of Swaffham for potentially exposing them to the coronavirus. This happened as a result of me misinterpreting the government's advice on what can and can't be done whilst self-isolating.
"I mistakenly thought that I must not leave my house except to exercise once a day. Unfortunately, I was incorrect and must not leave the house under any circumstances whilst in self-isolation.
"Hopefully, by keeping well away from others, not touching anything and staying outside whilst taking exercise, the risk to the general public was mitigated. Again, my sincere apologies for any distress my actions may have caused to others.”
The government advice states anyone with Covid-19 symptoms or a positive test result must stay at home for the full isolation period.
This is because they could pass it on to others, even if they don’t have symptoms.
And the isolation period includes the day symptoms started, or the test was taken, and the ensuing 10 full days.
Mrs Beech's actions has prompted calls for her to resign from other councillors.
Swaffham's Breckland councillor Ian Sherwood said: "I had a number of local Swaffham residents contact me regarding their serious concerns in relation to Swaffham town councillor Beech.
“All community leaders have a responsibility to understand the guidance issued in relation to the current pandemic. The advice given by the NHS to anyone with a positive Covid-19 test is clear and that advice is given to those who test positive.
“It's a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.
"Our local NHS like that across the country is at a critical point, and this is clearly totally irresponsible as Cllr Beech will have broken the law which is a matter for the police.
"Morally, in my opinion, Cllr Beech’s position is untenable and she should resign as she has let those who voted for her and our community down."
Mr Sherwood continued: "Many of us know family and friends who currently have Covid-19 and sadly our local Queen Elizabeth Hospital has seen over 200 deaths from Covid-19. Our NHS needs all of us to take responsibility and ensure we do all we can for others.
"I again urge all our community to Stay Home, Protect The NHS, and Save Lives."
Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner said: "It is important that we as elected representatives of our town act within the Covid-19 government guidelines at all times.”