The leader of Huntingdonshire District Council has said there have been “too many” examples of residents not adhering to Covid-19 restrictions.
Conservative Ryan Fuller, who took over the leadership in December last year, warned of rising infection rates nationally and in Huntingdonshire at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday evening (October 14).
He also called for judgements on local lockdowns to be made on a district by district basis, rather than by county or region, with decisions “made locally”.
Cllr Fuller said: “The number of cases of coronavirus per 100,000 of the population here in Huntingdonshire has risen nearly tenfold in just a few short weeks. I must therefore stress the importance of everybody playing their part and following the guidance to control the spread of the virus and protect our local economy, local jobs and the livelihoods of our residents.
“I have great faith in the common sense of the British people, and the vast majority of the residents of Huntingdonshire are being responsible, doing the right thing, following guidance, and helping to prevent the spread of the virus.
“However, we are still seeing too many examples locally of people not understanding or not accepting that some of the measures in place are there to protect our most vulnerable residents”.
‘Incredibly important that judgements are made locally’
For the seven days up to October 11 Huntingdonshire had 55 confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people. The average area in England had 89 cases per 100,000, and the majority of areas in England are currently in the “medium” risk tier and not within the higher tier two and three restrictions.
Speaking about the new three tier system, Cllr Fuller said both he and mayor James Palmer believe any future local lockdowns should be applied on a district by district basis.
He said: “I do not want to see another national lockdown, and nor do I want Huntingdonshire’s alert level to rise to the point that we have to endure a local lockdown. Put simply, I believe the effect of such measures on our local economy would be catastrophic.
“I discussed this with mayor Palmer this morning, and we are united in the view that local lockdowns must be considered on a district by district basis, rather than at a county or regional level.
“A rapidly rising number of new cases in Cambridge city, for example, cannot be allowed to plunge Huntingdonshire’s businesses into a forced closure that many of them are saying they would not be able to survive.
“It is incredibly important that any judgements are able to be made locally and take into account both the aims of protecting lives by management of the virus, and protecting livelihoods through supporting our local economy”.
For the seven days up to October 11, Cambridge had 91 confirmed cases per 100,000.
Huntingdonshire District Council is in the “medium” tier of risk, as set by the government. This means there are no additional rules in place beyond existing measures on wearing face coverings, the rule of six, and social distancing. The next level, Tier 2 or “high” includes a ban on households mixing indoors, including at pubs and restaurants.