The Government’s decision to delay introducing extra measures in Nottingham as Covid cases spiral in the city causes concern and a burden for local resources, say the City Council’s Leader.

The City Council had been in discussions with the Government and had understood they intended introducing extra restrictions this week – a move the council supports. The council urged local residents to stick to their social bubbles and not mix with other households ahead of any Government announcement.

This remains the case, but it’s understood the Government now doesn’t intend to announce the new measures until Monday – opening up the potential for people planning to socialise this weekend ahead of the restrictions coming in.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “Given the extremely concerning rise in cases, with Nottingham now having the fourth highest rate of infection in the country, we were working towards new Government restrictions being imposed this week.

“While we are already urging local residents to stick to their social bubbles and not mix with anyone outside their households, we are very concerned about the possible implications of the Government not imposing extra restrictions until next week.

“There is a chance this weekend that people might think this is the last chance before Christmas, let’s go out and party – and we can’t have that.

“It seems like we’re victims of a Government change of approach and therefore even though we’ve got very high numbers that we’ve known about since the beginning of the week, we’ve got to wait until next week for Government to bring in what we expect will be new restrictions in Nottingham. We need Government to act urgently and decisively or better still, give us the powers to let us get on with taking the action ourselves.

“It unnecessarily places a huge burden on our local resources to manage the clear potential for people to decide to go out and socialise one last time this weekend before local measures are introduced, which runs the risk of making a bad situation even worse in terms of infection rates. All we can do is urge people to do the sensible thing and stay at home. This deadly virus is now rife in our city and you are putting yourselves and others at risk unless you take this seriously and follow the strict guidance that’s in place.”

Director of Public Health Alison Challenger said: “Our latest surveillance report published today shows that last week the number of cases in the city shot up to 1,600 from just under 300 the week before. That’s a dramatic increase, even allowing for any data glitches, and it’s abundantly clear that stricter measures are needed.

“We need local people to continue to stick to the existing rules as they have done overwhelmingly so far. That means thorough, regular handwashing, using face coverings when out and maintaining social distancing, including observing the Rule of Six.

“In addition, we have said that because of the concerning rise in local positive cases and infection, everyone needs to stick rigidly to their social bubbles and not mix with other households. There is no need to wait for additional Government restrictions – it is clear that infection rates are rising which means that we need to do more than we have been so far in Nottingham to curb the spread of the virus. We are seeing an increase in Covid patients being admitted to hospital locally which is of serious concern.”

The council will continue to deploy its 100 Community Protection Officers as it has since the national lockdown ended, providing a reassuring visible presence that also helps to deter people breaking the rules, with an approach of advising and engaging with people to encourage compliance with Covid guidance. CPOs are already working hand-in-glove with the council’s Environmental Health officers on a number of areas, including enforcement of businesses, as well as supporting the police and supporting those shielding, helping the vulnerable and working with local businesses. This places Nottingham in a stronger position than many cities, and while the council will consider the offer of Government funding for Covid Marshalls that was only received today (October 8th), they would have fewer powers available to them than CPOs.