Fylde MP Mark Menzies and public health boss Dr Sakthi Karunanithi urge caution as Covid rules set to be lifted

Residents are set to see almost all mandatory Covid restrictions being lifted from next Monday.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 11:42 am

But Fylde MP and Lancashire’s public health boss have both urged caution and for mask wearing and social distancing to continue, with common sense a crucial factor, as case numbers

continue to rise.

A final decision on the fourth and final step on the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown on July 19 will be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a news conference later today.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Lancashire’s director of public of health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi said that it would be “wise” for the county’s residents to continue with the “basics” in relation to masks and social

distancing “until we are in the clear from the point of infections and how it is affecting our communities – and until at least the point that more than 90 percent of our population is double

vaccinated”.

He said that would be the advice he would be giving against a backdrop of stubbornly high case numbers across the region.

Fylde has fared better than most areas of Lancashire but the numbers are still an ongoing cause for concern for Fylde MP Mark Menzies.

He said: “I am pleased to see us return to normality, and our local businesses able to operate as normal again – but I am also concerned at the number of cases here in Fylde.

“The number of hospital admissions and deaths has clearly been reduced thanks to the vaccine, but we are seeing a huge number of positive tests every day.

“I would urge everyone to consider still using face masks and common sense where appropriate for the foreseeable future, to help slow the spread of this virus.”

The latest figures from positive coronavirus tests in Fylde show an infection rate of 310.7 per 100,000 people as of July 1.

Figures the previous week showed an infection rate of 224.1 per 100,000 in the seven days up to June 25, with most new cases among the 20 to 24-year-old age group.

Dr Karunanithi said the notion of “freedom” being handed to people on July 19 compared to a life under continued restrictions was a “false dichotomy”, especially for the young, because of

the “disruption to their lives and education” caused by high Covid rates among their number.

He said: “It would not be fair on young people for these restrictions to be lifted without clear advice. We already have a lot of freedom - all we want is to be free, safe and fair. I’m expecting

the Lancashire public will have the common sense – and Covid sense – to pay attention to local advice.”

Jamie Croasdale, who runs the Black Sheep Tearooms in Lytham and St Annes with wife Melanie, said the ending of the rules would be welcome.

“We have been busier than anticipated since we reopened and we are looking forward to a good summer,” he said.

“We constantly have to remind customers to wear masks so that will be one less worry and I think people generally are ready for the rule to go. The staff can carry on wearing them if they

wish but we won’t say they have to.”

Alison Plackitt, co-owner of the Plackitt and Booth bookshop in Lytham, said: “We put up plastic screens around the till area and we will probably keep those in place because they are a

good protection in themselves for staff.

“Customers have been very good at wearing masks but I suppose the country generally is ready to take this next step back towards normality.

“But I think it needs to be tied in with a concerted vaccination programme for younger people, such as university students, who have been so affected by the restrictions.”