The Government has announced that Bedford Borough is no longer a coronavirus ‘area of concern’ watchlist.
The area had been one of almost 100 marked for possible second lockdown thanks to high infection rates.
But now, after two weeks of falling rates, which most recently recorded less than six cases per 100,000, the government has said Bedford is no longer an area they are watching.
The news will be a welcome boost for locals who have been concerned a second local lockdown would be a disaster for the local economy.
“Don’t be complacent”
But local health bosses have warned Bedfordians not to be complacent and that the hard work to reduce infection rates could still be undone.
“It is good news that we have started to see coronavirus cases reduce,” said Mayor Dave Hodgson.
“Locally we have started to re-open facilities such as libraries and The Higgins Bedford with stringent infection prevention measures in place, and we are working with Fusion Lifestyle around their opening of local leisure centres.”
There has been much criticism of the council for the slow reopening of public facilities.
The Bedford Independent has interviewed councillors and representatives at Fusion to find out when leisure facilities will be open.
We’ll be publishing those interviews next week.
But, Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing has continued to add that government guidelines are still in place and people must still remain vigilant.
“Coronavirus has not gone away, and there have been reports of outbreaks in Bedfordshire,” she said.
“Ahead of this weekend, we are asking you to please act responsibly. Coming off the area of concern list is absolutely a step in the right direction but we need people to keep playing their part.
“Protect your family, your friends, and protect Bedford Borough.
“Getting tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus is key in slowing the spread. If you start to experience symptoms of coronavirus: a new persistent cough, a high temperature, or a change of loss of taste or smell, even only mildly- make sure you self-isolate and get tested.”
There are testing facilities in Bedford available seven days a week, both for people to drive in or walk in and you can order tests from home. Tests are free and can be booked at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
The mayor also reiterated social distancing advice.
“We are urging people across the Borough not to get complacent; keep staying 2m apart from others, washing your hands and wearing a face covering in busy places, and help slow the spread of coronavirus,” he said.