On this page (in order from top to bottom):
- Coronavirus Cases: 15 January 2021
- Serious Warnings: 13 January 2021
- Coronavirus Cases: 7 January 2021
- Lockdown Again: 6 January 2021
- Tier 4 – 30 December 2020
- Coronavirus Cases – 29 December 2020
- Two Consequences – 23 December 2020
- Coronavirus Cases – 18 December 2020
- Coronavirus Tier Change & Christmas – 15 December 2020
- Coronavirus Cases – 11 December 2020
- Avian Flu – 8 December 2020
- Tier 2 Information Update – 2 December 2020
- Tier 2 Information – 26 November 2020
- Christchurch Christmas Lights – 23 November 2020
- Covid Trends in BCP and Dorset – 13 November 2020
- Covid Marshals in Christchurch – 9 November 2020
- The Priory – Events & restrictions during lockdown – 6 November 2020
- BCP Facilities during lockdown – 5 November 2020
- Covid Marshals – 31 October 2020
- Coronavirus BCP presentation and Q&A – 29-30 October 2020
- Christopher Chope MP, Speech in Parliament – 13 October 2020
This Week’s Figures – January 15
Once more the number of cases and hospitalisations has increased worryingly.
There is an article on the front page of the Bournemouth Echo which includes the following paragraph: ‘Hospital admissions have continued to increase. The situation across Dorset is not like anything we have seen before and the most serious our local NHS services have faced. The single most important thing everyone can do is to stay home.’ Read the whole article for much more.
A Serious Situation – January 13
This rather worrying email from BCP arrived yesterday.
It is reproduced in full below.
Councillor Nicola Greene
Portfolio Holder for COVID-19 Resilience and Public Health:
‘COVID-19 is currently spreading in our local area at an alarming rate. As a community, we must act to stop the spread of this deadly virus and the simplest action we can all take is to stay at home. Transmission between households is now the primary way in which COVID-19 is spreading in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, so we must not visit others or allow others into our homes if we are to stop the spread.
‘Our local hospitals are seeing a record number of patients with COVID-19, including in the under 60s age group, with many very seriously ill on ventilators.” ‘In light of rising local case rates, we are reviewing our council services, to consider whether further service suspensions are needed to reduce the likelihood of people leaving home. Services are being managed in line with the latest Government lockdown guidelines, but further services may close if the risk becomes too great.’
Councillor Drew Mellor
Leader of BCP Council:
‘Our immediate priority last week was to comply with government guidelines in terms of which services can and cannot operate. We are now looking carefully at all those services which can continue, to ask ourselves whether they really should. We will be looking at detailed data to inform our decisions, including pedestrian numbers, beach hut usage, library click and collect take up and takeaway sales, to determine whether it is right that services continue in the current climate.’
Latest Figures – January 7
A short delay with this, it is only now (Jan 10) being published. As you can see, it is rather worrying.
We are now in a full lockdown, one which promises to be even stricter than the previous one. It will certainly last well into February, and possibly even longer. This is a summary from BCP Council of what you can – and can’t – do.
There are only a limited number of reasons you should be leaving your homes, including:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
- go to work, or provide voluntary services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
- exercise locally, limited to once per day
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible.
This is a complete list of the restrictions and permissions on the gov.uk website:
As I am sure you know, I am something of an aficionado of the Daily Mail. Today, 6 January, this is the main headline. Click it to read the article – and the comments! It has not gone down well.
Met Police WILL stop people ‘with no good reason to have left home’, fine groups over two and issue on the spot £200 penalties for mask flouters – as forces say officers should be able to FORCE entry into rule-breakers’ homes as law is published in full
It was good, however, to see that the children’s playgrounds are still in action. This was not the case last time. I have also seen several buses today, and none of them had a single passenger. I feel quite sorry for the drivers!
From Tier 3 to Tier 4
Today, 30 December, as well as the new vaccine announced, today the BCP area has been changed to Tier 4 because of the increased number of infections. This is from the BCP Council:
‘The Government has announced that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will move into Tier 4 from 00:01 on Thursday 31 December. Tier 4 means that you must not leave home unless it is for specific purposes including: food, medical reasons, education and childcare or work.
‘You can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing.
‘The number of cases of COVID-19 has risen rapidly across the area in the last week, so it is vital that we all follow the new rules to help drive down infections.’
I’m sure you are all aware of the nationwide – indeed international – concern about the spread of coronavirus, especially with these new variants which are much more infectious. As you can see from the chart below, the numbers have increased massively in the BCP area. Scroll down to see earlier results, or look for Coronavirus Cases in the index at the top of the page.
Yesterday, 22 December, I saw an item in the Bournemouth Echo that the Christchurch Priory Car Park Carols have had to be cancelled. You can read the article here. The images show the original sign, and my updated version.
It was also reported, under the heading Historic pub temporarily closes due to Covid that Ye Olde George Inn is closed, as drinks can only be served with a substantial meal (whatever that is, more that a Scotch egg, surely). This is from their website:
‘Due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ye Olde George Inn will be temporarily closing its doors at 11pm on December 20. We look forward to hosting you again soon.’
Do have a look at their website. Sadly I do not have a decent picture of the establishment – I did go down to photograph it the other day, but there was a large van parked in front. So for now click to see their website.
24 December: Picture taken! For interest, the blue plaque at the top left reads:
First referred to in the records as ‘St George’ in 1630 and now the oldest surviving inn in the town, THE GEORGE INN at George and Dragon stands opposite the former Market Place with its Town Hall and prison, shops, shambles, pillory and market cross.
26 December: Large picture of the blue plaque below.
Sadly, the graph is now in an upwards direction compared to last week.
As you might expect, I have chosen a headline from the Daily Mail. Click it to see the article in a new window.
As you are no doubt aware, tomorrow (16 December) the tiers are to be reviewed across England. There is an article in The Echo about the possibility of our area moving from Tier 2 to Tier 1.
I will not comment on that article, but it is worth reporting the concern about the relaxation of restrictions for five days over Christmas. This is a small part of the debate held in the Commons yesterday, 15 December (taken from Hansard):
Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East: While 2020 has been the most testing of years, 2021 should be different because of the vaccine. My concern is that letting down our guard for five days during Christmas could be very dangerous indeed. Will the Secretary of State review those conditions, which were put together some time ago, and come back to the House to present an updated version so that we do not begin the new year with a third wave?
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care: I take my right hon. Friend’s views on this very seriously. I would say to everybody in Bournemouth and across the country that the best way they can help their area to go into a lower tier is by exercising personal restraint—not seeing the rules as something to push against but rather acting well within them as much as possible to ensure that this virus does not spread.
I will not state my personal opinion of this, though I have heard several politicians say today that it is up to personal responsibility rather than government instruction. Just before I published this, at around 5pm, I checked the Daily Mail (always good for a bit of drama!), and this was the headline. (Click it to go to the article, which appears in a new window.)
Today the latest figures were published by BCP, and it shows a pleasing result compared to last week. Of course, there is still Christmas to get through and five days of freedom. Let’s just hope that it will be careful, sensible freedom, to avoid another wave in the new year.
As if This Wasn’t Enough …
8 December …now there is Avian flu. This update is to make you aware. I make no apology by publishing the information on the BCP Facebook page in full:
‘If you keep chickens, or any other birds, please be aware that from 14 December, all poultry and captive birds must be housed due to cases of Avian Flu. Read further information by visiting: http://orlo.uk/RHr8w
‘If you see any ill or dead birds, please do not approach and immediately report to the Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) helpline on
03459 33 55 77.
‘Poultry keepers should report any cases to APHA on 03000 200 301
‘Anyone who keeps chickens or other birds must to follow strict biosecurity measures. If you have concerns about this, please contact trading standards by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org’
Tier 2 – Restrictions Lifted
2 December – BCP Council sent out the following information by email:
‘From tomorrow 2 December the national lockdown in England ends. This means that:
- The stay-at-home requirement will end
- Non-essential retail, gyms, personal care will reopen
- The leisure and entertainment sectors will reopen to varying degrees
- Communal worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume
- You are no longer limited to seeing one other person in outdoor public spaces -the rule of 6 will now apply’
The tiers will be reviewed in mid-December.
Tier 2 – What You Can Do
Today, 26 November, we heard that BCP has been placed in Tier 2 of the Covid restrictions. The important information from the government is in the graphic below. Click for a larger image, this will open in a new window.
Christchurch Christmas Lights
Obviously this year the procedure will be different. The lights are being installed and will be completed by Friday, 27 November, and the tree will be installed in its usual location and is due for installation on Tuesday. Obviously because of social distancing and Covid restrictions there will be no formal switch-on: they will be turned on as they are installed.
Today, 13 November, I saw a message from BCP Council, updating the current status of Covid-19, and its overall trend. As only the figures were shown, I decided to emulate Messrs Vallance and Whitty and produce a single chart showing the positive infections. It demonstrates how strong the trend has been recently. Obviously there are going to be more cases in the BCP conurbation, as that is the most heavily-populated area, but it nevertheless gives cause for concern. Do I hear Hands – Face – Space?
Note that I have not produced a chart for the other data: you can only have so much of a good thing!
Happy Covid Marshals
You have probably heard of the BCP Covid Marshals, who are there to help, guide and remind us about appropriate precautions to be taken when out and about. I saw my first in Christchurch this morning, and I was delighted when they agreed to pose.
I did want them to take their masks off, but thought better of that idea – it might not have been a great example for such a marshal to set! The pictures are below, and I am sure they were saying say ‘Cheese’ behind those masks! Click the images for larger (remember View Full Size, bottom right, for even larger).
Christchurch Priory Events and Services
The image below is taken from the Christchurch Priory website. The upper section shows the results when I clicked on ‘Search.’ Nothing. The lower section shows the restrictions applied to services
This is also taken from their website: ‘Visiting – the Priory will remain open for private prayer only daily from 10.00am to 4.00pm (except when funeral services or recordings are taking place). Covid safety measures must be complied with at all times. General visiting is not permitted. St George’s and St John’s will be closed at all times until further notice.’
The picture below is of The Priory in happier times.
Facilities During the Lockdown, 5 Nov-2 Dec
The following services will be OPEN
- Household recycling centres, refuse collection, garden waste collection, commercial waste
- Public toilets
- Promenade, piers, beaches and parks, with catering outlets offering takeaway only
- Car parks
- Playgrounds and skate parks
- Beach hut tenants can continue to use their huts
The following services will be REDUCED OR CLOSED:
- Upton County Park and Highcliffe Castle grounds will be open, with catering takeaway services, but the House and Castle will be closed
- Museums to close
- Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre to close, with classes offered online
- Tennis courts, outdoor bowling, all mini-golf and Queen’s Park Golf Course will close
- Amusement arcades will close
- Visitor Centre and the Beach Lodges to close
- Kings Park Nursery will close for winter as scheduled on Sunday 8 November
- Weddings will not be held, and funerals continue to be restricted to 30 mourners
- All BCP Council libraries will be closed. All live loans will be extended for six weeks minimum
Seven of these marshals will be working in the BCP area. Funded through a Government grant, they will work alongside the Police, the Council’s community safety and regulatory team and Business Improvement District (BID) rangers.
They are there to give guidance, undertake spot checks and help the Covid regulations to work effectively. They will have no directly-enforcable powers, but will be able to call on Council authorities and the police where required.
This is what Cllr May Haines (pictured) said, concluding with the well-known hands-face-space mantra:
‘We are pleased to be able to introduce the Covid marshals this weekend, who will work with the community and partners to support Covid-19 rule and regulation compliance.
‘We would like to welcome the seven new marshals to the BCP Council team and look forward to all working together to help people adhere to current Covid-19 guidance with the shared goal of keeping our communities safe.
‘To help us all stay safe, please remember to keep to the ‘rule of six’, wear a mask in enclosed spaces, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing.’
Thank You, Bournemouth Echo!
The BCP online update and Q&A yesterday was a long one, so I confess was rather dreading wading through it all again for a report. Well, The Echo has saved me! They published a complete report last night, very soon after it had ended. Click the image to go there. Note that it is in reverse chronological order – it starts at the bottom. Now, what to do with all of the time I have just saved …
Here is a link so that you can watch it on YouTube:
29 October – The Broadcast
Today (Thursday) at 5pm an update was broadcast from BCP at 5pm.
First, some personal observations. It lasted nearly an hour with much information repeated – it struck me that some of the questions asked the same information as others. I did record the sound for the whole event, but it was nearly 30Mb by the end – and that was only the sound. I will not therefore be transcribing everything, but have provided a link on the Bournemouth Echo site (see above). Here are most of the slides and questions.
- New confirmed cases in latest 7-day period (BCP & Dorset)
- 7-day case rate per 100,000 of the population (includes adjacent areas)
- BCP Council update – Cllr Nicola Greene
- Slide – Together we can
- Slide – Care homes & schools
- Slide – Homelessness
- Slide – Supporting businesses
- Slide – information and engagement
- Slide – All our responsibilities
- Dorset police update – Chief Inspector Wayne Nock
- Public question 1 -Social distancing
What is being done to make sure people are social distancing in busy areas like parks, town centre and the promenade?
- Public question 2 – Enforcement
What is being done on enforcement for business [sic] not complying with the rules or member of the public not following the rules of six? // How do people report issues like illegal gatherings or businesses that are not compliant?
- Public question 3 – self-isolating
Who investigates cases where people are not self-isolating after they have tested positive or been identified as a close contact? // Who should breaches of self-isolation be reported to?
- Public question 4 – tier 2
What is the criteria [sic] for being moved up to Tier 2 and why hasn’t BCP moved to tier 2 yet? // Would a change in restrictions only apply to the BCP area or would neighbouring areas be included? // How are you bringing the virus under control?
- Public question 5 – data and cases
Can you share where cases are so people can make their own judgment about what action they need to take? // Are there particular clusters driving aour cases up or it is a wider problem across the community? Is it related to schools and universities?
- Public question 6 – tourism
What is being done to support the tourism sector?
- Public question 7 – education
Would the council consider a rota-based system for schools to operate to improve social distancing and curb the spread? // What is being done to reduce the spread of the virus amongst students?
- Public question 8 – vulnerable people
What is being done to protect and support people who are clinically vulnerable during the latest wave of infections?
- Closing remarks – Graham Farrant, Chief Executive BCP Council
Important – 28 October
First, a link which will let you to know what the restrictions are by putting in your postcode, or any postcode to find out the status if you are visiting. Click the image to go to the page, which will open in a new window. Note that I have cropped it in case you are tempted to try to type it in there!
So What Happens Next?
As you may know, there has been increasing concern about the number of cases nationally, and also in the BCP area. It is possible that the Council may move from Tier 1 to Tier 2. Here is an explanation of the meaning of these tiers -this opens in a new window.
Rather than explaining it all again as it affects our area, here is a direct link to an excellent page in the Bournemouth Echo published today (28 October).
Covid-19 Speech, 13 October
Our local MP, Sir Christopher Chope, criticises the lack of government consultation prior to decision-making.
The full debate can be read on Hansard. Sir Christopher’s speech is at 4.44pm, and my transcription is also below.
(Sir Christopher Chope)
Mr Deputy Speaker, it’s a pleasure to follow the honourable lady, and I share very much her frustration, the impossibility of getting clear answers from the government on so many of these important questions. ‘Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.’ Those words from William Pitt were included in an email of one of my constituents, Mr Deputy Speaker, complaining about the way in which this government is treating the constituents in Christchurch and so many other people in this in this country.
So what is the necessity for what the government is bringing forward today? I asked on the 8th of October if the government would publish the evidence in support of the Secretary of State’s statement on the 1st of October that hundreds of thousands of deaths would follow if the government just let the virus rip. Mr Deputy Speaker, there has been no answer to that question, no attempt to answer it, and nor has there been any justification for the arbitrary introduction of a ten o’clock curfew.
(Intervention – Sir Edward Leigh)
Does he trust the prognosis of Professor Ferguson whose estimates have been proved wrong again and again and are wildly exaggerated?
(Sir Christopher Chope)
I don’t trust them at all. And I’m going to refer, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the evidence from Sweden, because the Prime Minister’s challenge to his critics was to put forward an alternative. And the Swedish approach is clear and simple. It is to trust the people and make them responsible for their own health and welfare. I looked at the figures for Sweden for the first week of October and there were only seven death recorded in Sweden over that period, and today not a single death recorded in Sweden. The Swedish public health agency recommends that household regulation and quarantine should exclude, and I quote, ‘Those who have provisionally tested positive for Covid-19, or been confirmed to have antibodies in the last six months.
I put down a question asking why that category of people cannot be exempt from these regulations. Again, I haven’t had an answer to that question, although the time when it should have been answered has long past, Mr Speaker. This is intolerable, the arrogance in which the government is treating us as elected members of this place. Swedish common sense is to the fore. They have restricted gatherings not to six, but to fifty. They allow nursing homes to decide their own visiting policies. They regard the rules about face coverings as simplistic and irrelevant.
Again, on face coverings, I put down a Parliamentary question on the 25th of September whether the introduction of regulations requiring the use of face coverings was linked to an increase in the infection rate of Covid-19. It won’t have escaped your notice, Mr Deputy Speaker, that since those regulations were brought in, there has been an exponential increase in the infection rate in this country. Have I had an answer to that question? Of course not. Does we suggest that the government doesn’t even want to face up to that evidence that face coverings are counterproductive and are leading to a false sense of security?
In Sweden, two thirds of all deaths from Covid-19 have been in the over 80 age group, and that’s, I think, indicative of a similar situation here. And all the United Kingdom restrictions have so far, given the average member of this country, UK citizen, an extra half day of life and these new restrictions that are coming in, won’t even give that because the collateral damage which is being caused is going to actually reduce life expectancy