Hounslow's Infection Rates Not Declining Says Public Health Chief

Kelly O'Neill believes Tier 3 still possible if restrictions ignored

Hounslow’s director of public health Kelly O’Neill
Hounslow’s director of public health Kelly O’Neill
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Tier 2 restrictions being placed on Hounslow is “not a licence to be irresponsible” as infection rates “are not on the decline”, the borough’s public health boss has warned.

Kelly O’Neill has urged residents to stick to the Tier 2 limits unveiled by the government on Thursday, November 26, at a time when the NHS will also be facing winter pressures.

London has been placed under the second tier, meaning as of December 2 entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres, shops can reopen.

Up to six people from different households can meet up outside, and pubs can reopen as long as they serve alcohol with a substantial meal.

Weddings of up to 15 people and funerals of up to 30 people have also got the go-ahead.

But in a message to residents, Ms O’Neill reminded “this is no cause for celebration or complacency”.

“It is evident that the Government still has worries about our infection levels and will soon review London’s status. If we are going to avoid Tier 3 restrictions, the challenge to Hounslow residents is clear – we must follow the Tier 2 rules,” she said.

The council’s health lead on fighting the pandemic explained that while there are variations in rates across the capital, the shared communities, travel and environments makes the borough vulnerable to “significant increases” of coronavirus cases if the rules are not followed.

And she said that Tier 2 restrictions should serve as the “upper limit” of what is allowed, rather than an opportunity to “push the boundaries further”.

Latest figures revealed as the Tier system was announced shows London’s weekly rate of 177.1 per 100,000 in the seven days leading up to November 21.

Meanwhile Hounslow recorded an infection rate of 201.1 per 100,000. Neighbouring Ealing reports similar levels at 205.1 per 100,000.

Ms O’Neill added, “Being in Tier 2 rather than Tier 3 is positive for our economy and supports the social wellbeing of our communities, however in terms of our public health this comes with the need to be vigilant; rates of infection are not on the decline, and if we see increased rates of infection, especially amongst our older residents and those with chronic illnesses this will lead to more people needing hospital care on top of non-Covid illness that we get every year during the winter which puts the NHS under sustained pressure.

“This will increase the number of people who will die.”

Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter

November 27, 2020

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