Fears over a local lockdown in South Yorkshire as Covid-19 cases 'creep up'

Coronavirus cases are ‘creeping up’ in Barnsley, with leaders warning it could lead to a local lockdown.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 8:37 am

There were 55 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Barnsley in the seven days to August 15, a rate of 22.3 per 100,000 population, which while still below that in many parts of England is up from recent weeks.

In a joint message, Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton and the town’s director of public health, Julia Burrows, said: “We're concerned that we're seeing the number of positive cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Barnsley creeping up. At the moment we're seeing an increase of positive cases in the Wombwell area but equally, it could happen anywhere across Barnsley.

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A medical professional in PPE, including gloves, an apron and a face mask as a precautionary measure against Covid-19, pushes a patient (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

“If we don't maintain social distancing and follow the rules, the situation for Barnsley could get much worse. Across the country, we've seen places where shops, pubs and workplaces have been forced to close. We need to do everything we can to stop this from happening in Barnsley.”

The warning comes after a sports club in Wombwell was forced to close when a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

A mobile testing unit will be at Wombwell from tomorrow, Friday, August 21, to next Tuesday, August 25, in addition to the existing testing site at the Courthouse car park in Barnsley town centre, with people able to book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Staff will also be out talking to people in the Wombwell area, sharing key messages on staying safe and encouraging people with concerns to get a test.

Mr Houghton and Ms Burrows said that some of the positive cases in Wombwell were known to have resulted from people socialising and they reminded people not to meet with more than six people at a time outdoors and only to socialise indoors with people from up to two households.

“After such a long time, it's easy for us to become complacent, and we know many of us are desperate to get back to our daily routines. The key thing you can do to help protect your community is to follow the government's guidance at gov.uk/coronavirus,” they added.