Police investigate self-isolation breaches after Shropshire traveller camp outbreak

Police are considering taking action against people who fail to self-isolate after an outbreak of coronavirus in Shropshire, although the number of infectious people has "decreased significantly".

There are seven people left on the Long Lane travellers' site in Craven Arms who are being asked to self-isolate out of the 29 confirmed cases in total.

There has been testing in the town available for the public since July 25 and Shropshire Council said a large number of residents were tested yesterday with no positive test results.

For the week to Wednesday, Shropshire's infection rate was 6.6 cases per 100,000 people after 21 new cases were confirmed - almost entirely in Craven Arms. This rate is four times higher than the previous week but remains extremely low compared to places such as Blackburn and Leicester where the rate was 83.9 and 58.1 cases per 100,000 people respectively.

In Telford & Wrekin the rate was 2.8 cases per 100,000 people after five positive tests compared to 7.9 the week before when 14 cases were confirmed.

Shropshire Council says it has also been made aware of people leaving the caravan site who should have been self-isolating and has warned West Mercia Police is now "considering taking appropriate enforcement action".

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It comes after one resident of the camp pleaded for people to treat the community with respect, saying that people were being given dirty looks for leaving the site even when they are permitted to do so.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council's director of public health, said: "Shropshire Council, Public Health England and our partners have acted quickly to prevent and control the spread of the virus. Prompt testing on the Long Lane site has allowed us to understand transmission and protect the wider community.

“We’re aware that local residents are concerned, but the risk to the general public remains low. I am also pleased that the wider Craven Arms community has also taken up the offer of testing.

“As of today it’s encouraging that testing of the wider Craven Arms community has not identified any positive cases so far. Testing, tracing and monitoring of the situation continues, and along with our partners, we will take all actions necessary to protect public health.”

Meanwhile a planned easing of England’s lockdown has been postponed a day before it was due to come into effect, as the Prime Minister warned the country “cannot be complacent” amid a rise in the prevalence of coronavirus in the community.

Residents in Craven Arms are being encouraged to get tested whether they show symptoms or not at the testing centre in Craven Arms Business Park, open from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

Appointments can be booked via NHS Test and Trace online or by phoning 119.

Shropshire Council’s public health team has also advised people to follow social distancing advice to reduce their social interaction with other people and that good hand hygiene remains the best protection against the virus.

For advice and support during the pandemic, call Shropshire Council’s Covid-19 helpline on 03456789028 or visit shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

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