Bradford has said it is “working hard” to prevent another lockdown and Barnsley has stressed new restrictions are not needed, as figures revealed they have the highest COVID-19 rates in England after Leicester. The latest data shows Bradford has 69.4 cases per 100,000 population, the second-highest in England behind Leicester with 140.2. Barnsley is third in the table with 54.7 cases per 100,000.
Sky correspondent Frazer Maude said: “Bradford haven’t gone as far to say they definitely don’t need a second lockdown but say they are working very hard to avoid a lockdown.
“Part of that is the new testing centre behind me in the town centre.
“Not a drive-through centre as we’ve seen in other areas here in Yorkshire but a walk-in centre for people who don’t have access to vehicles who can come in here and arrange tests.
“The council hope that this will be a very visible reminder to people here in Bradford that this pandemic is far from over and we must remain vigilant.
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“They think they’re better armed now in terms of knowing where the hotspots are, the hotspots within the hotspots effectively.
“As of earlier this week, local councils are getting breakdowns of the latest figures of coronavirus sufferers.
“They’ve got those broken down into postcode areas which helps them identify hotspots within the hotspots.”
Bradford council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “We know that figures from Public Health England show Bradford with a high number of infections along with a number of other northern authorities, although we are some way behind Leicester.
“The number of people testing positive for the virus is still too high and we continue to work hard with all our partners to prevent infection spreading as no one wants a second lockdown.
“As we take more and more steps towards returning to a more normal life, it’s easy to believe that COVID-19 is less of a threat to our health and the health of our family and friends.
“This is simply not the case.
“We urge all residents to continue to follow the guidelines around staying at home as much as possible, social distancing, washing hands frequently and ensuring that they self-isolate and get tested if they, or anyone in their household, develop any symptoms.”
In Barnsley, council leaders said that up-to-date data has seen a drop in the average number of new cases for four consecutive days and they are continuing to “proactively manage the disease locally and in line with national guidance”.
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In a joint statement, the town’s director for public health Julia Burrows and council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “This is why we do not believe at this stage any further measures will need to be implemented such as the ones seen in Leicester.”
But they added: “The fact our rate has been high does mean that we ask for extra caution and vigilance by everyone in Barnsley.”
The statement said: “The number of cases is Barnsley is higher than the national average.
“We are seeing transmission in the community across the borough and, like many places across the country, have had clusters and outbreaks in a handful of care homes, schools and workplaces, as we expected would happen.”