Obey rules plea as fall in rate slows

Public health chiefs have pleaded with county residents to cut down non-essential travel, after figures showed people are still moving more than the rest of the UK.

Data from Google shows the drop in the number of people visiting shops, parks, and workplaces, and is seen as a measure of how well lockdown is working.

The UK average has seen 24 per cent fewer people visiting supermarkets when this month is compared with a five week period from January to February 2020 – prior to the pandemic and lockdown.

But Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have both only seen a 17 per cent drop in the same period.

It comes as the rate of infection in both Telford & Wrekin, and Shropshire, has been falling more slowly than other parts of the country – although the number of Covid patients in the county's hospitals did fall significantly last week.

The current rate in Telford & Wrekin is 269 cases per 100,000 people, and in Shropshire it is 195.

In Powys it stands at 95.

Advice

Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin’s director for public health, said: “Looking at mobility data we can see that people in Telford and Wrekin are on the move compared to other areas in the West Midlands – this could be one of the reasons why infection rates are declining slower.

“Staying at home and reducing travel is the main way we can reduce our cases – only go out for essential reasons, reduce the amount of trips you make to the shops and one person should be doing the shopping.

“We’ve also seen a number of cases in workplaces recently, so I’d like to encourage people who have to go to work and have no symptoms to get tested regularly at one of our rapid centres.

“Avoiding car sharing and following hands-face-space when you’re at work or on your breaks remains the best way to prevent the spread in the workplace.”

The number of people using retail and recreation across the UK has dropped by 60 per cent according to Google, but in Shropshire the fall has been 52 per cent, and in Telford & Wrekin 47 per cent.

The number of people travelling to workplaces in the county is also higher than the national average. The UK has seen a huge drop of 52 per cent in the amount of people travelling to work – largely down to the move to home working.

In Shropshire the figure has fallen by 40 per cent, and in Telford & Wrekin 37 per cent.

The county also has more people using public transport according to the data, with the UK average dropping by 63 per cent, but Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin falling by 54 and 55 per cent respectively.

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