Sheffield's new virus alert level is 'not a victory' says Chamber chief
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Interim-executive director, Alexis Krachai, said new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister were appropriate – but huge changes were now necessary to combat the virus.
And they came after a ‘set of national failures to manage it effectively’.
Sheffield is in a new ‘high alert’ level in which all mixing is banned between different households or support bubbles, indoors.
A ‘very high alert level’ applies to Liverpool and means the closure of pubs, bars, gyms, bookies and casinos and a ban on socialising indoors and in private gardens.
‘Medium alert’ means the current national guidelines remain, including the ‘rule of six’ on mixing and 10pm curfew.
Mr Krachai said the chamber had been consulted by Sheffield City Council over the weekend as it prepared feedback for government ahead of the decision.
He added: “This is not a victory, we must redouble our efforts to manage the virus and protect the vulnerable and keep the economy open.
“More importantly, we must recognise this decision is as a result of a set of national failures to manage the virus effectively.
“We need to completely re-think test, trace and isolate. Contact tracing needs to be managed locally. We also need to make sure people who can’t work from home get meaningful support if they need to isolate and viable business are given the support they need to get through this pandemic.”
The government’s app-based test and trace system aims to limit the spread of the virus by identifying those who have had close contact with someone who tests positive and advising them to self-isolate.
Currently 67 per cent of contacts are reached within 24 hours. But critics say this is too low.
Last week, a technical glitch meant the close contacts of 16,000 people in England who tested positive were not traced.
Mr Krachai added: “The entire country is in a difficult position. We are now facing challenging decisions about managing the virus and keeping the economy open.
“One positive in recent weeks and over the weekend is that the council reached out for another view as it grappled with decisions.”