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Mayor warns South Yorkshire could be heading for local lockdown

Written by on 30/09/2020

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has warned that South Yorkshire could be heading for a local lockdown.

Mr Jarvis has expressed his concern that “problems” with the government’s Test and Trace system could see cases rise in the region.

The Mayor’s stark warning comes as 60,000 students arrive in Sheffield for the new academic semester.

This increase in population, teamed with an “ineffective test and trace system” could result in a local lockdown, Sheffield City Region said in a press release.

Mr Jarvis has now asked for “decisive” action from the government to help our county fight a rise in cases.

He has urged the government to:

  • Unlock laboratory testing capacity to increase the number of tests that can be processed
  • Integrate testing to enable a joined-up approach to testing
  • Urgently introduce priority access to testing for our key workers
  • Provide clearer public messaging on isolation if it is not possible to get a test

In a letter to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, The Mayor said: “There is no bigger priority for the country than the immediate resolution of the current capacity and timeliness of the testing system.

“Without this it is impossible to understand and manage the scale of the problem we face. This is essential in retaining public trust and faith to follow the guidance that it is given.”

He warned Mr Hancock that more lives, jobs and businesses across South Yorkshire could be “put at risk” if swift action is not taken.

“For this reason, I would strongly urge you to immediately utilise the excellent, strategic capabilities within our Armed Forces to help manage the current crisis regarding testing.

“Their logistical expertise exemplified by the rate at which they established the Nightingale Hospitals would be as of great a use now, as it was then”, he said.

Mr Jarvis expressed his desire to see the wider country “draw upon every resource” at its disposal in order to manage the Covid crisis.

The Military have helped the testing effort in Birmingham, supporting civilian efforts in areas of the city with high cases.

Military personnel in the city have run a drop and collect service, which provides test kits to people who can’t leave their homes or find it difficult to get a test in their local area.