10 Sep 2020

Residents living in the most affected areas in St Helens will see increased communication and be encouraged to avoid mixing with different groups of people in a short space of time following a steep rise in confirmed coronavirus cases.

This is alongside the changes announced by the Prime Minister around social gatherings in England - with the number allowed to meet socially reduced from 30 to six.

The law change comes after a steep rise in cases across England and will ban larger groups meeting socially indoors or outdoors but will not apply to schools, workplaces, Covid-secure weddings, funerals, church services and organised team sports.

Pubs, restaurants, shops and other venues will reamin open but people can only attend in groups up to six.

This will be enforced through a £100 fine if people fail to comply, doubling on each offence up to a maximum of £3,200.

Full details on the updated guidance on meeting people outside your household and the law change can be found here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Locally in St Helens there has been a significant rise in cases in the Newton-le-Willows area and generally among the 20-40 age group.

Sue Forster, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: “We are seeing a worrying quick increase in positive tests across the borough and the worst affected at present is the Newton-le-Willows area. This rise has happened even though we have not seen a rise in testing numbers in the borough so we are seeing more community transmission at this time.

“We are taking this action cut off the community transmission by making people in the Newton-le-Willows area aware there has been a number of confirmed cases in close proximity to them.

“This virus thrives on contact so we all have a role to play in reducing the opportunity for it to spread. Letters will be sent to those households in the affected area which are deemed more vulnerable to risk of Covid-19 while schools and community groups will be also be targeted in the communications in Newton-le-Willows.

"The message is the same to everybody in the borough. Help to reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of people you meet with from outside your household, particularly around social activities at home or out and about, sure you keep at least 2m distance if possible, wash hands regularly and wear a face mask in enclosed spaces.”

All residents are reminded to do the following to keep those who are vulnerable safe:

  • Follow the guidance on socially distancing
  • Wear a face covering when in an enclosed space
  • Wash hands often with hot water and soap and use sanitisers when out
  • Book a test if you have any symptoms (cough, high temperature or loss of smell/taste) and also if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
  • Follow the self-isolation guidance if you develop symptoms or someone in your household develops symptoms.