Alnwick 'cannot expect to stay exempt' from restrictions, insists local councillor

An Alnwick councillor has backed the decision to introduce coronavirus restrictions in the town – despite its low infection rate.

Friday, 18th September 2020, 11:22 am

Cllr Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward member on Northumberland County Council, has backed the county and region-wide approach being adopted to control the spread of the virus.

Cllr Castle said: “This is not a new lockdown, it is a tightening up of measures to try and avoid that and control the growing viral spread.

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Alnwick during lockdown in March.

"Last week the county’s 84 new Covid cases were double that for the whole of August. Infections are spreading north in the county with pockets of growing concern mostly in the south east, but Alnwick is not one of them.

"However, we must take at least a county-wide approach given the extent of travel between communities and towns and it was the right decision to join with the 7 LACs to act as one - the virus does not recognise geographic boundaries.

"There are some matters such as child care by relatives and confusion with the recent rule of six needing clarity and I’m hopeful the detail of emerging legislation will resolve such anomalies.

"But it is a fast moving picture with no textbook solutions and plenty of wrong answers.

"We are trying to deal with a deadly pandemic that is still with us and at the same time balance business and educational needs.

"Infection rates are rising nationally and Alnwick cannot expect to stay exempt.

"The county will review its measures weekly and I am in close and regular contact with officers on all aspects of this urgent matter, doing all I can to represent local interests, but I must put the avoidance of needless deaths first.”

The measures were requested earlier this week in response to rising infection rates. The leaders of Northumberland County Council, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Sunderland City Council, Durham County Council, North Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Council – collectively the LA7 group – contacted Government requesting powers to get ahead of the recent surge in cases.

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