Covid-19: Peterborough to get rapid tests and new testing sites as timing of Tier change labelled ‘daft’

Peterborough is to get rapid testing for coronavirus and new permanent testing sites to help it tackle the spread of Covid-19.

By Joel Lamy
Friday, 18th December 2020, 5:05 am

It was announced on Wednesday that the city will move up to Tier 3 on Saturday which means pubs and restaurants will have to close apart from for takeaway orders. Fans will also be banned from attending Peterborough United home matches.

The rest of Cambridgeshire will remain in Tier 2.

Peterborough’s Covid infection rate is 296.6 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to December 12 which represented 600 new cases compared to 205.7 the previous week.

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A testing site at the East of England Arena and Events Centre

Leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich said outbreaks at secondary schools and care homes have caused the spiralling rate, and that a request from chief executive Gillian Beasley to the Government for schools to be allowed to close in the final week of term was rejected.

A ‘disappointed’ Cllr Holdich said rapid testing is due to be introduced into city schools and homes for the elderly in the new year, and that new testing stations will shortly be introduced across Peterborough.

He also questioned the decision to move Peterborough into Tier 3 on Saturday, with restrictions then being eased for five days over the Christmas period before being tightened again from the 28th.

He told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Why bring this is on the 21st and two days later let people do what they want? It seems daft.

“It doesn’t make sense. Going into Tier 3 on the 28th makes a lot more sense - have Christmas then afterwards shutdown a bit.

“The (different rules) confuse you. We’ve got to get the message across that the virus is still here and is very rampant.

“It’s spreading a lot faster than at stage 1 and we’ve got to re-enforce the message that the vaccine is not here for the person in the street. Please, please, please take care and follow the rules.”

He added: “Our staff have gone beyond their jobs, worked extremely hard and I’m disappointed for them. Gillian is upset as she’s put an awful lot of energy in, as have her managers.

“She tried to persuade the Government that we can try to control this if we close schools, but the Government has to take action. I have sympathy for both sides.”

The tiers are being reviewed every two weeks by the Government, which means the next announcement is likely to take place on New Year’s Eve.