MERSEYSIDE has been identified by the Government as one of two new areas of concern owing to rising number of coronavirus cases.
Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher commented: “In the light of this news, it’s essential that every single one of Sefton’s residents and businesses continue the great efforts they have made already to prevent us going into lockdown.
“The willingness and efforts of local people and the vast majority of the Borough’s businesses to follow the guidelines and implement the measures required have been impressive and were reflected in low numbers of cases recently. However, this current rise is a cause for concern.
“Infections in Sefton are spread across the Borough through people’s familiar social networks, whether at home, at work or out and about and while we are seeing cases being reported in people of all ages, those in the working age group from 20-60 are prevalent.
“Those people may be only mildly affected by COVID-19 and some are asymptomatic, but our real concern is how these people can still spread the infection, including to their loved ones at home who may be vulnerable and far more seriously affected.
“It’s vital that local people continue with social distancing and follow the Government’s recently revised guidelines restricting indoor meetings to members of two different households and keeping numbers at outdoor gatherings to a maximum of six. Wearing masks and face coverings where required and frequent, thorough hand-washing are also crucial.
“Sefton’s businesses need to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements for pubs, bars and restaurants, distancing and cleaning procedures and face coverings where required.
“Also, we need those people who develop the coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, or a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, to get a test immediately, for their own safety and the safety of others. They just need to visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 to make an appointment at their nearest available Test Centre. Home testing kits are also available on request.
“Finally, it is vitally important that if any Sefton residents are contacted by the Test and Trace programme that they comply with the requests of the contact tracers and stay home if they are asked to do so.
“We really appreciate the huge efforts and sacrifices Sefton’s population and business have made to work with us to protect vulnerable people across our communities. Now we need them to continue those efforts and prevent tighter restrictions being re-introduced.”
Merseyside was placed on the Government’s Coronavirus Watch List on Friday, September 11 after a recent rise in cases across the North West. Liverpool and Wirral are the worst hit areas locally, both with coronavirus cases above 50 per 100,000. Sefton is the least affected in Merseyside, although cases have nearly doubled in a week from 16.6 per 100,000 (46 cases) to 32.2 (89 cases).
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “Being placed on the ‘Watch List’ means that the government is closely monitoring the situation in our area regarding infection rates. They could impose a local lockdown on our area if cases continue to rise.
“That is something we all want to avoid if we can. So I would today ask every person, every family, every business in Southport and across Merseyside to continue with the excellent work you have been doing to keep yourselves and others safe and to stop transmission of this virus.
“Please continue to wash your hands often, and well; please maintain social distance from others; please wear a face mask or a face covering when using public transport or in shops or supermarkets.
“If you develop symptoms, please self-isolate immediately and please get a test.”
After being placed on the Coronavirus Watch List, council leaders in the region will now have to report back to the Government on measures being taken to avoid a local lockdown in the region.
Damien Moore continued: “It is up to all of us to do all we can to prevent Covid-19 cases from rising, and to prevent more patients being admitted to Southport Hospital.
“It is vital that local people continue with social distancing and follow Government guidelines which, from Monday, will restrict indoor meetings to members of two different households and keep numbers at outdoor gatherings to a maximum of six. I urge all of our local businesses to ensure that they have all of the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements for pubs, bars and restaurants, distancing and cleaning procedures and face coverings where required.
“I would ask anyone who develops the symptoms of a high temperature, or a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, to please seek a test immediately. Plea