With coronavirus cases in England reaching their highest levels since May, Bedford’s Council and police chiefs are urging everyone to continue to follow Government guidelines and avoid large gatherings which could increase the spread of the virus and lead to a local lockdown.
The plea comes after the Council has had to investigate cases where individuals had tested positive following large gatherings in the borough.
And as two of the government’s scientific advisers have given stark warnings over the rise in cases in England.
Prof Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said the increase was of “great concern” and that “people had relaxed too much over the summer.”
While Prof John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said cases in England were “increasing exponentially”.
On Sunday 2,988 new cases were announced, which was the highest figure since 22 May.
To avoid the risk of transmission and stay as safe as possible, Bedford Borough Council and Bedfordshire Police are advising people to always maintain social distancing with people not from their household, both indoors and outdoors.
In a statement, Bedford Borough Council reminded residents, “You should only have close social contact with people from your household and support bubble.
“The virus can be transmitted by someone without any symptoms, so it is important to remain cautious, even with trusted friends and family and at COVID-19 secure venues.”
Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing said, “Whether it’s in a garden, in one of our fantastic parks or at a pub or restaurant, please continue to follow any relevant signage or instructions and remember to observe 2m social distancing, regularly wash your hands and wear a face covering to keep yourself and others safe.
“Please do not hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing and avoid close social interaction – even if they are organised by businesses and venues that are taking steps to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines
“If you feel unwell or have coronavirus symptoms, please stay at home to protect yourself, your friends, family and your community.”
Chief Superintendent John Murphy said, “Coronavirus is still very much amongst us and we are urging people not to lower their guard and to be extra vigilant to help stop the spread of coronavirus in Bedford and the surrounding areas.
“It is important that we follow the current government guidance and we would urge people to please take precautions, such as observing social distancing and wearing a face covering when in public areas, such as shops and supermarkets.
“Our officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the guidance, with enforcement as a last option, and we would like to thank the public for their continued support.”
Current Government guidelines
Indoors – You can meet indoors in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household). This includes inviting people into your home, visiting another home or socialising in a public venue.
Outdoors – You can meet in groups of up to six people who you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble. You can ONLY meet in groups of more than six people if everyone is exclusively from two households (including support bubbles).
In all cases – You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble. You should also provide your contact details for test and trace purposes.
If a business or venue is not following national guidelines, you can report this to the Council at email@example.com.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a new, continuous cough, high temperature, or a loss of, or change to your sense of taste or smell), please book a test via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Free testing is available seven days a week in Bedford.