'More needs to be done to prevent a full lockdown as Newcastle Coronavirus cases increase rapidly' say Newcastle's Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats Opposition on Newcastle City Council have reacted with concern to the latest figures released from Public Health England for Newcastle upon Tyne which now show recorded cases being one of the highest infection rates in the region, with 129.4 per 100,000, and the most cases at 392, compared to 207 cases the week before. Newcastle now has some of the highest rates of infection in the country.
These figures follow on from lockdown measures introduced last week in the region, and now also additional measures across England, and special arrangements being put in place in schools and by the Universities, following the return of students.
The jump in the figures comes following the closure of a Newcastle school for two weeks, and a number of cases involving staff and pupils there, and reports of cases at other Newcastle schools.
Councillor Nick Cott, the Leader of the Opposition and member of the Council's City Futures Board, said: 'We are concerned about the continuing rise in the rate of infections and this supports the rationale for the new lockdown measures and work across the City by the Council and its partners. However, we continue to believe that more needs to be done to prevent a full lockdown.
'The Government's communications around the pandemic have been appalling and more needs to be done to deal with their mixed messages. We're asking the Government to review the discontinuation of the furlough scheme, to help out the hospitality sector, and therefore give greater flexibility about opening of such premises. We need to ensure that household and family networks can function properly and that our communities are kept as safe as possible.
'The Government urgently needs to address the failure of its centralised track and trace scheme, and the failure to bring forward a contact tracing app, making tracing people going in and out of other households a harder task than it needs to be.
'We are again calling on the Police and Crime Commissioner to take steps to address enforcement of regulations around licensing premises, by directing resources from the Late Night Levy, to help.
'Newcastle City Council needs to continue to focus on making sure that lockdown restrictions are aligned with social distancing measures being put in place across our district centres. We continue to be concerned about stark inequalities in the implementation of social distancing measures across the City, with little yet done in the East and West Ends, despite our protestations.
'We have been pleased to see how much businesses and organisations across the City have been working hard to deal with the issues at this challenging time, but we will continue to shout up about the concerns of residents in the City and seek action. The next couple of weeks are absolutely critical; we certainly hope to avoid a full lockdown, but this will require some more concerted action.'