Northamptonshire’s senior leaders are urging the public to keep saving lives – by continuing to stay at home.

As the experts report that the UK appears to have passed the peak of new coronavirus infections there are fears people will draw their own conclusions and decide this is the time to relax social distancing measures.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, Gold Commander for Op Talla, the Northamptonshire Police response to Covid-19, said:

“First of all I’d like to say a big thank you for the widespread compliance people across Northamptonshire have shown towards the social distancing rules and for the support they have given the NHS by only going out to make essential journeys.

“This is not over yet though and the single most important action people can take to ensure the numbers of new infections continues its downward trajectory is to keep staying at home.

“I realise this is difficult but we are in this together – we know our actions are saving lives but it is absolutely crucial we don’t undo our good work by starting to make unnecessary journeys or to socialise with people we don’t share the same house with.

“However to repeat to those who do break the rules: When this is all over, do you really want to be remembered as one of the people who were fined for risking the lives of your family and friends, and our brave NHS medics fighting COVID-19 on the frontline? We will fine you if we need to – please be under no illusion about that.”

Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health for Northamptonshire said: “The actions people are taking to stay at home and socially distance are working, the rate of infections is beginning to slow and we are seeing the number of deaths decreasing, which is good news. However, it’s very early days and there is a real danger that infections and deaths will significantly increase again if we don’t continue to adhere to the guidance.

“I want to pay tribute to the people of Northamptonshire who are doing a fantastic job in supporting social distancing and I urge you to continue. It is down to you that the numbers are now falling in the county and the curve has started to flatten. But I emphasise it’s not over and there is still some way to go before we can be confident that rates have slowed significantly enough to lift the measures in place.

“I know it’s hard not seeing family and friends and no-one wants the current measures to go on for any longer than is necessary. But we need to continue to protect the NHS and social care staff who are working really hard to support people with COVID-19. This is a highly infectious virus that quickly passes from person to person, so if measures were relaxed too soon it wouldn’t take long for a new surge in cases to occur and for the system to quickly become overwhelmed – meaning ultimately that more people will die.

“For most people COVID-19 is a mild illness but we all know that for some it can have devastating consequences. We want to make sure that the vulnerable in Northamptonshire are as protected as possible – so please don’t risk a fine from the police, keep doing what you’re doing and stay at home. You’re making an enormous difference and it is hugely appreciated.“

Notes

  • Northamptonshire Police can issue penalty notices of £60 where they have reason to believe there has been an offence under the regulations. These penalties are doubled for each repeat offence up to a £960 cap.
  •  The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
  • These measures are in force for 6 months in the first instance, unless all, or parts are revoked.
  • They were reviewed on 16 April 2020 and are being retained. They will be reviewed again no later than 21 days from that date.
  • For the latest government guidance on Coronavirus https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance
  • For latest NHS advice www.nhs.uk/coronavirus