'Inevitable' and 'heartbreaking': Telford residents react as Tier 2 restrictions begin

Tier 2 lockdown restrictions have officially begun in Telford & Wrekin in an attempt to curb rising infection rates, and residents have been giving their thoughts.

John Hughes doesn't think regional lockdowns are the answer
John Hughes doesn't think regional lockdowns are the answer

The stricter measures brought in today include a ban on meeting people from other households in indoor settings, apart from designated 'support bubbles'.

Telford and Wrekin's average infection rate was 219.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to October 26, compared to 168.5 the week before.

In comparison, the infection rate in the Shropshire Council area was 135.5 cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 26 and 87.3 the week before.

Few of the people interviewed in Wellington yesterday were surprised by the news, which came after repeated warnings from officials, but some felt the new restrictions will not be enough.

The daily number of new Covid-19 cases in Telford since September 30. Data: Public Health England

One man who feels the Tier 2 restrictions do not go far enough is John Hughes, 73, of Wellington.

His view is that the only real solution is a Europe-wide lockdown and travel restrictions.

"I don't think anything will happen until Europe all closes down together.

"My wife is Portuguese, since tourists were allowed to go into Portugal again the rate shot up.

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"I don't think this area-by-area lockdown is the way to go.

"Tier 2 won't affect us much. My daughter comes to visit and she's a school teacher, she's used to staying well away.

"She sits in the garden and we sit in the conservatory and chat.

"I'm fine as long as I don't get it. Let's hope that in the near future there's a vaccine for it."

Latest Covid-19 infection rates in the region

The latest rolling seven-day infection rate of Covid-19 by local authority area, compared to the previous week.

The figures are for the seven days to October 26, with data for the most recent four days (October 27-30) excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to October 26; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to October 26; rate of new cases in the seven days to October 19; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to October 19.

  • South Staffordshire 401.1 (451), 237.5 (267)

  • Cannock Chase 343.4 (346), 230.2 (232)

  • Walsall 336.3 (960), 235.0 (671)

  • Sandwell 317.9 (1044), 223.5 (734)

  • Stoke-on-Trent 315.9 (810), 221.6 (568)

  • Birmingham 276.4 (3156), 240.6 (2747)

  • Dudley 260.6 (838), 163.9 (527)

  • Wolverhampton 251.0 (661), 197.8 (521)

  • Stafford 243.3 (334), 162.4 (223)

  • Lichfield 234.8 (246), 164.2 (172)

  • Solihull 229.2 (496), 225.5 (488)

  • Telford and Wrekin 219.6 (395), 168.5 (303)

  • Shropshire 135.5 (438), 87.3 (282)

Mr Hughes said he had faith that most people in Telford would continue to follow the rules. While waiting for a shop to open, he observed people queuing patiently and wearing masks.

"Some shops seem to have it cracked but then others don't. But it only needs one person who is asymptomatic to do the wrong thing."

He said that he is preparing for this year's Christmas to be a very scaled-back affair.

"I think if people are being realistic about it [we won't have a normal Christmas], but they may not feel the same way.

"People may want something different but what's achievable is very different in all the circumstances."

A woman who did not want to be named said she worried for her weekly visits from her son, who travels from south Worcestershire to take her shopping.

A young man out with his son said the new limits would pose problems for him, as he regularly moves between four different households including those of his son's mother as well as his own mother.

Shirley Osborne said: 'I just live with it and mind my own business.'

Shirley Osborne, 55, born and bred in Telford, said: "I won't be surprised if it goes back to the way it was in March. People aren't following the rules, that's why we're in this situation.

"People don't listen, youngsters don't listen.

"I just live with it and mind my own business.

"It means I won't be able to meet my boyfriend indoors – back to square one. It's going to be upsetting, heartbreaking."

Iain and six-year-old Roddy McDowall in Wellington

Iain McDowall, 49, hails from Scotland but lives in Telford with his family. He was not at all surprised to hear the news, and predicts that not just this Christmas but at least the next will be impacted by coronavirus.

He said: "I thought it was inevitable.

"Going forward I don't really have much hope for the next few Christmases.

"From now on I think there will be a new normal – masks, social distancing, that's going to be the new normal.

"This second wave was always going to happen. People were talking about it, I believe that a lot of the public didn't take that on board.

"Once the Government said 'let's relax it, we're doing quite well', complacency kicked in. People stopped wearing masks out of the house, drinking.

"I think the Government has a lot to answer for there.

The cumulative total number of coronavirus deaths at hospitals in Shropshire as of October 30. Data: NHS England

"I don't believe that social distancing can be conducted in an environment where alcohol is sold. When the alcohol pours in, the idiot pours out.

"It gets forgotten with the drunken cuddles, the drunken hugs.

"I don't actually think that pubs should have opened – I think the whole of Britain will probably hate me for saying that."

He is not hopeful for a vaccine and pointed to the influenza virus, which can mutate.

Most of his contact with extended family back in Scotland has been over online platforms including Skype and WhatsApp, which he said will have saved many isolated people the heartbreak of being alone almost all the time, "keeping them above the dark clouds".

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