By Anne North
Cornwall’s average Covid infection rate is now 586.1 per 100,000 population, compared with England’s average of 501.5. Plymouth is at 808.1 – the highest in the country.
Nine clusters in Cornwall are reporting more than 800 cases per 100,000 population, putting them in the “most dangerous” category.
Cornwall Council has issued a statement saying it welcomes the government’s introduction of “Plan B” which makes face masks compulsory in most indoor settings from today. People are advised to work from home from Monday, and from Wednesday vaccination passports will be needed to access nightclubs and events.
Despite “welcoming” Plan B, County Hall has so far ducked questions about what role, if any, its Covid marshalls will play in enforcing the new measures. Shop keepers, employers and event organisers are angry that the government appears to be putting the responsibility on them to fill gaps in its own public policy.
Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “We know that new restrictions are the last thing that people want, especially at this time of year as we all prepare to celebrate Christmas. But we can’t underestimate the impact this new variant could have on our communities if we don’t take it seriously.
“This is why we welcome the new Plan B rules and are urging people to follow them to protect themselves and those around them. It is vital that everyone is aware of the risk and takes responsibility to slow the spread of Omicron in Cornwall.”
Cllr Dr Andy Virr, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Public Health and Emergency Department consultant at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, added: “The best weapon we have against rising Covid cases and the Omicron variant is the vaccine so I would urge everyone to make sure they get both jabs and their booster when available.
“The vaccines are proven to reduce severity of illness from the virus and keep people out of hospital so by having it you can not only help protect yourself but also reduce pressure on the NHS this winter.
“The majority of people who end up in hospital with Covid are unvaccinated and I have seen first-hand the impact the virus can have on people’s health. Our message is clear – don’t hang about, get your jabs.”
Members of Parliament are due to vote on the new measures contained in Plan B on Tuesday, amid signs that there could be a significant rebellion among Conservative MPs.