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Fear of a Lockdown Christmas as Surrey’s Covid Infection Rates Continue to Rise

Published on: 18 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 18 Nov, 2020

By Martin Giles

The number of infections in Surrey is still rising as worries grow about a possible “Lockdown Christmas”. The testing programme, now with much higher capacity, detected almost 2,000 new cases last week (ending November 13) and 219 in Guildford borough.

Ministers are said to be looking at how to relax coronavirus restrictions so families can celebrate Christmas together.

The BBC has reported that the government’s medical adviser on Covid, Susan Hopkins, said they were working on a plan and wanted Christmas to be “as close to normal as possible”.

And there are signs it is slowing and while hospital admissions also rise, Covid-associated deaths remain low, only one last week in the borough.

Within Surrey, Guildford has among the lowest seven-day new infections per 100,000 of population. It was 147. But individual borough rates remain volatile.

Elmbridge, the only Surrey borough to have been moved into Tier 2 restrictions before the latest lockdown, is now among the lowest rates. Spelthorne, by Heathrow Airport, has the highest rate of 240.

Health officials hope for signs the infection rate has peaked before December 2 when the lockdown is due to end. If not, we could return to the tiered restrictions but some scientists say Tiers 1 and 2 have shown little ability to curb the spread.

Before Lockdown 2 started, local leaders believed Guildford would face Tier 2 restrictions.

Whatever the regime, if the “R Rate”, now 1.2-1.4 in the South East, remains above one, then further increases in infection can be expected.

The official advice warns residents to remain vigilant to slow any spread and adhere to the following guidance:

  • Keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible);
  • Wear face coverings; and
  • Wash your hands regularly.

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