Why Sheffield is looking to Israel as health chief calls on city to 'hold nerve' over Covid

Sheffield’s health chief says there are encouraging signs the city’s Covid rate is stabilising, following a slight rise.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 9:01 pm

Greg Fell, Sheffield’s director of public health, claims the pattern appears to be following that in Israel which is leading the way globally when it comes to the percentage of the population vaccinated.

He called on people across the city to ‘hold our nerve’ over the next week or two, which could be a crucial period in the fightback against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Greg Fell, Sheffield's director of public health

While Sheffield’s Covid-19 case rate has risen over recent days, Mr Fell said infections among the most vulnerable over-60 age group were continuing to fall.

"It’s worth looking at what’s happened in other countries. Israel is the closest to the UK, with a very, very well vaccinated population,” he said.

"As Israel opened up, case rates increased, then stabilised and started to go down, and there are just some signs of the stabilisation in Sheffield – too early to call but just some signs.

"So, a bit of flattening and I think we need to hold our nerve for the next week or two. We’re certainly not doing any of the wrong things, and the things that we are doing are probably the right things.”

Mr Fell added that although Sheffield’s Covid case rate is rising, the ‘critical metrics’, including infections among over-60s and hospitalisations, were a lot better than just a few weeks ago.

He added that more than 220,000 people in Sheffield had now received their first vaccine dose, with 18,000 getting their second, which he called an ‘astounding achievement’.