Rochdale and Wakefield step up Covid-19 precautions to avoid local lockdowns

Residents urged to wear face masks as infection rates increase

Rochdale has brought in measures to try to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and avoid a localised lockdown.

It is the second town in north-west England to make the move, after Blackburn with Darwen introduced new rules on 14 July as cases increased.

Rochdale residents are being urged to wear face coverings in shops – before compulsory measures come into force in England on 24 July – and to limit visitors to two people.

Andrea Fallon, Rochdale borough council’s public health director, said: “The fight against coronavirus is not over. Although lockdown measures are being relaxed across the country, we can see from our local data that we need to remain vigilant to the threat posed by the disease.

“We have increased testing and that has shown us that we need to take action and ask everyone to help keep our infection rate down.”

The local authority will review the advice in a fortnight.


Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, could also soon be identified as an “area of concern”, its council has said, after an increase in coronavirus cases. Public Health England figures showed the rate of infection in the city was around 20 cases per 100,000 people as of 13 July, up from 14.8 the previous week.

Concerns were raised in the area after testing in factories at the centre of localised outbreaks showed most people who were found positive were asymptomatic.

Wakefield’s director of public health, Anna Hartley, said the increase in infections had been caused by two large workplace outbreaks.

“It is this early warning system that has identified the need for everyone to increase their efforts to tackle the spread of the virus, especially in areas of our lives where social distancing is not possible,” she said.

Residents are being urged not to share vehicles with anyone outside their household. People with underlying health conditions or who are aged over 70 are asked to avoid areas where it is not possible to keep 2 metres apart.

How to make your own face mask at home

This month 17 workers at Forza Foods meat factory in Normanton, Wakefield, tested positive for Covid-19, and four workers at a bed factory in the market town of Ossett were found to have the virus.

In the past week more than 20 residents at an accommodation centre for asylum seekers in the city were reported to have tested positive for Covid-19, and campaigners from South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group said the real figure was higher.

Hartley said the council was considering making community testing available for people who did not have symptoms in areas of Wakefield that were of higher concern.

“There is a growing concern that the number of people testing positive for the virus will continue to rise, and that the risk of more localised outbreaks remains unless people take more action to reduce the spread of infection,” she said.


Amy Walker

The GuardianTramp

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