Sheffield’s health chief says the city is well prepared if there needs to be a local lockdown – and revealed it would not necessarily mean the whole of South Yorkshire had to quarantine.
Sheffield Council says there would not be an automatic lockdown for the whole county if one area saw a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Director of Public Health Greg Fell says plans are in place on how the city would respond to an increase in coronavirus cases.
He said: “This includes continued plans for testing, self-isolation where appropriate, and deep cleaning of affected premises.
“As is now standard practice, any positive cases will be followed up by NHS Test and Trace, with any close contacts of cases informed and advised to self-isolate.
“We are well sighted on what our data is telling us and as such are alert to any ongoing incidents for which we have good arrangements.
“We know the number of cases is too high for comfort and we know that this can grow quickly.
“Whilst we have a plan in place to deal with a wide range of potential scenarios, we are well aware that the pandemic is far from over and we will need to be vigilant for some time as this picture is subject to continual change.”
Mr Fell said if there was a spike in Sheffield, a reintroduction of lockdown was likely, to prevent the spread and save lives.
“In response to a need to reintroduce lockdown in Sheffield, we would work with bordering local authorities and public health directors, to mitigate risk and prevent the spread of the virus into other towns and cities.
“However, in the event of a localised outbreak, it would not necessarily mean an automatic lockdown to the whole of South Yorkshire, although all local authorities, including ourselves, would continue to observe the measures set out in our respective Local Outbreak Control Plans.
“England’s chief medical officer can advise a minister to use existing emergency powers to control and contain a town, city or area, where needed.
“We would likely call upon these emergency powers and continue to work with agencies including Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
“Reintroducing a lockdown of the city would see similar measures to those taken in March this year and as a city we will be ready to respond accordingly, should circumstances surround the virus change.”
Mr Fell said it was essential for people to social distance, wash their hands regularly, get tested and self-isolated if they got symptoms. Collectively doing these things will make a big difference.