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‘We are costing people’s lives’: Warning over sticking to Covid-19 rules to enjoy Christmas

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 November 2020

Barking and Dagenham has seen 3,430 positive Covid-19 cases since the pandemic struck. Picture: Luke Acton.

Barking and Dagenham has seen 3,430 positive Covid-19 cases since the pandemic struck. Picture: Luke Acton.

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People have been warned to stick by coronavirus rules if they want to enjoy Christmas this year.

Social care and integrated health lead Cllr Maureen Worby (pictured here at a meeting before the coronavirus pandemic). Picture: LBBD.Social care and integrated health lead Cllr Maureen Worby (pictured here at a meeting before the coronavirus pandemic). Picture: LBBD.

The warning came from Barking and Dagenham’s cabinet member for health at a meeting on Tuesday, November 17.

Cllr Maureen Worby, talking about rapid testing coming to the borough, said: “The problem is, if people don’t come forward for tests or act on what they are told we will not get a grip on this.

“The vaccine, whilst the news has been good and it’s brilliant that in the future we will have a way of controlling [the virus], the key phrase is ‘the future’.”

She explained how it would be another six months before the number of people vaccinated gets to a point where the virus can be effectively controlled.

Council leader Darren Rodwell. Picture: Jon KingCouncil leader Darren Rodwell. Picture: Jon King

“It’s down to us as a community to take precautions now. If we want any sort of Christmas, we’ve got to stick by the rules. We have to do it. If we don’t, we are costing people’s lives.

“We need to take this seriously. We need to get tested when we have the opportunity and we need to isolate whenever ourselves or anyone else in our house tests positive.”

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Since the pandemic struck, there have been 3,430 positive Covid-19 cases in Barking and Dagenham. The rate of infection now stands at 244 people per 100,000, which is above London’s average.

In the week up to the meeting, there were 520 new cases. The highest case rate is among the 45 to 64-year-old age range, though Cllr Worby said levels are high across all ages.

“We’ve got outbreaks popping up all over the place,” Cllr Worby said.

A total of 190 people have died from Covid-19 in the borough. This represents 12 per cent more excess deaths than expected.

She added the national contact tracing system picks up 60pc of contacts, with the local authority reaching about half the remaining 40pc.

“The difficulty is – not only here but across the country – not everybody self-islolates after they’ve been contacted. We understand the pressure on individuals, but we are never going to beat this virus if we don’t abide by the rules,” she said.

Town hall leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said the borough has the highest contraction rate in London among the over 50s.

“These are people that should know better. These are people that should show a lead in their own families.”


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