COVID-19 lockdown statement - January 2021

Published Wednesday, 06 January 2021

A statement from the Leader of the Council, Councillor George Duggins, and Chief Executive, Martin Reeves.

Once again, we find ourselves in the unfortunate but necessary position of the city and country in lockdown because of a stark and rapid rise in cases that is putting a real and unprecedented pressure on the NHS. 

The facts are that Coventry’s infection rate is at the highest point it has ever been since mass-testing started, and there are more COVID-patients in all hospitals across Coventry and Warwickshire than at any point of the pandemic so far.

As with the previous two lockdowns, there is an inevitable downside of additional restrictions that will impact on what we want to do. But over the coming weeks, we must use this time to ensure the city is best placed to recover and take advantage of the better times that are ahead, such as the start of UK City of Culture.

That means redoubling our efforts and following the guidance and rules, and all taking responsibility for our actions. as we need to. To help reduce the spread of the virus, we should also take advantage of community testing that will be scaled up across the city and immediately seek a test by dialling 119 if we have any COVID-symptoms no matter how mild. 

The Council will also support the NHS by helping to roll-out the vaccine programmes as and when we are needed. 

With regards to the vaccine we would encourage everyone to take the vaccine if they are offered it. Daily vaccine figures must be released alongside positive figures for COVID and death rates, so that the public can monitor the progress, while we also still need the world-class test and trace service that has been promised.

This lockdown must mean we lockdown wherever we can, and we follow the rules that are enforceable by law. You must stay at home whenever you can and that includes for work unless you really cannot do so. Exercise is important for people’s wellbeing and fitness so it is important you do this wherever possible, but you should only leave home when you have a need to, not because you can do so. This may sound strict, but the reality is that controlling the spread, which is now so prevalent, is the only way we will reset Coventry’s position and make the most of the situation we find ourselves in.

Although lockdown regulations and guidance have been published, it is disappointing that parts create a level of ambiguity or do not go far enough in what we would like to see in a lockdown. However, we are clear that we will take decisive action to combat the virus, and with any actions or any person not following COVID compliant rules.

We will be working with the police and other partners to ensure people visibly see a step-up in enforcement activities throughout this lockdown to ensure we all remain COVID compliant and reduce the risk of the virus, and in particular the more contagious variant. If people abuse the rules, then we will not be afraid to use our powers to deal with them or shut down facilities and spaces to ensure the spirit and principles of this lockdown are followed.

Right from day one, Coventry has been at the lowest end of infection rates in the Combined Authority area. This has not been achieved by luck or chance but through compliance and doing the right things, even if unpopular, often before others have. 

The eventual roll-out of vaccines means there is light at the end of the tunnel, but we have a way to go yet before we get there. To get there as quickly as possible we all have a role to play, especially during lockdown. 

Thanks to the vast majority of people who continue to do the right thing, and together we will get through this.

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