Kirklees Outbreak Control Board says our spirit and unity will get us through new restrictions
“We call on the incredible spirit of unity that people in every part of Kirklees have shown throughout this crisis.” – Kirklees’ Outbreak Control Board has released a joint statement on the additional restrictions announced by Government on 31 July.
A joint statement by Councillor Shabir Pandor, Councillor David Hall, Councillor John Lawson, Councillor Andrew Cooper and Councillor Charles Greaves.
For the past four months, Kirklees councillors have been working together across party lines and across the borough to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Outbreak Control Board will oversee the council’s response to the next phases of the crisis in that same spirit of unity and cooperation. In light of the announcement on 31 July on extra restrictions for local authorities across the North of England, we believe it is more important than ever than we speak with one voice about how we can beat the virus and regain our freedoms together.
We understand the frustration felt by many people in Kirklees at the suddenness of the introduction of new restrictions on our freedoms. For those who were preparing to celebrate Eid just hours after the announcement. For those who have made so many sacrifices to reduce infections over many months. And for those who will miss out on enjoying time with friends and loved ones. We share the sadness that the new restrictions will inevitably cause especially after the sacrifices we have already made. We also share a determination to reduce infections and reverse the restrictions.
The Board believes it is important to note that Kirklees is in a different position from many of the local authorities who were made subject to these new restrictions at the same time. Data released late last week showed the rate of infection in Kirklees had reduced by a third over the preceding week. Only one other local authority in this group also saw a reduction in infections and that was an area with a higher rate than Kirklees. If this weekly reduction becomes a trend, we question whether these restrictions are a proportionate response to local circumstances. For that reason, we call on government to clarify its criteria for communities to enter and exit these measures as a matter of urgency.
Over the past few weeks, the Outbreak Control Board has been analysing data on infections in Kirklees as well as looking at the regional and national trends. We have targeted action in areas with the highest rates and the council has mobilised hundreds of its staff to reinforce those crucial public health messages and learn more about how we can get infections back down. There are many theories as to why infection rates rise. The truth is, the reasons we see spikes in infections are uncertain and the future unpredictable. Areas with high numbers of infections are not simply a reflection of people’s behaviour just as areas with low rates are not places where you don’t need to follow the guidance. The only sensible conclusion to be drawn from everything we know is that we need to tackle the virus together, as one community.
Managing outbreaks and understanding how and why infections spread is complex. But the route out of these restrictions is simple. We all need to keep following the guidance on social distancing, hand washing, face coverings, testing and isolating as soon as we have symptoms. We must now also make sure we do not visit other people’s homes until these restrictions are lifted. We call on the incredible spirit of unity that people in every part of Kirklees have shown throughout this crisis to overcome this latest challenge.