CORONAVIRUS: Council issues fresh “stay away” appeal

Published Friday, 22nd May 2020

Council officials in Hartlepool have issued a fresh appeal for visitors to stay away over the Bank Holiday weekend amid fears that COVID-19 cases in the town have yet to peak.

The Council says that people should make only essential journeys and stay at home wherever possible

It intends to keep coastal car parks closed this weekend and is warning that enforcement action will be taken where necessary.

Statistics show that while cases of COVID-19 may have peaked in London, the virus continues to pose a serious threat elsewhere, including Hartlepool.

Dr Patricia Riordan, Director of Public Health at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Hartlepool did have one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the North East until May 12th.

“Unfortunately, since that time our trajectory has noticeably increased and cases are continuing to rise at a rate which would suggest we have not reached our peak. According to statistics up to May 20th, Hartlepool had a COVID-19 infection rate of 342 per 100,000 – higher than 75% of local authority areas in England.”

In addition, the North-East’s COVID-19 R rate - the average number of people that an infected person will pass the virus on to – is the highest in the country at 0.80 and double that of London.

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of the Council, said: “Our priority continues to be to limit the impact this vile virus has on our communities and our vulnerable residents, so our message is simple – why take the risk? With this in mind, we would politely ask visitors to stay away.

“I hope people understand that this is designed to be a short-term measure that safeguards people’s health and we look forward to the day when we will again be able to welcome visitors with open arms.”