UK The community where Covid-19 has once again taken hold last minute news
PremierLeague-News.Com- “Three weeks ago, we had one of the lowest rates in Bolton. It’s rife around here now."
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! As the morning rain lashes down on the terraced streets of Bolton, the fight to stop the spread of coronavirus is already under way. Beneath gloomy grey skies, council workers in high-vis vests lug black trolleys from one house to the next. As they patiently make their way from door-to-door, they pass small grey parcels containing home testing kits into grateful pairs of hands. It is all part of a huge operation aimed at tackling a surge in Covid-19 cases in the UK's virus hotspot. Cases have soared in Bolton in recent days, leaving it with the highest infection rate in the country at 254.9 cases per 100,000 of population - more than ten times the national average. Coronavirus testing kits are handed to a resident (Image: ABNM Photography) It is not the first time the town has held the unwanted title - it consistently recorded the highest rate of new cases for several weeks last September - but the pace of the recent spike has taken many here by surprise. It is thought to be driven by the B.1.617.2 strain of coronavirus - often referred to as the Indian variant - and has predominantly affected areas to the south-west of the town centre. Official data shows that the Lever Edge ward, in Great Lever, currently boasts the highest infection rate in England at just over 862 cases per 100,000 people. A total of 76 new infections were recorded there in the week up to May 10 - an increase of 50 on the previous seven days. Two boys play football in Pennington Road, Great Lever (Image: ABNM Photography) It is no surprise, therefore, that most of the efforts to crackdown on the virus are targeted here. Testing has been stepped up as the council aims to track the spread and ensure those who are infected are isolating. Over the course of this weekend, council teams hope to distribute testing kits to between 10,000 and 12,000 homes. One of those who has been handed one is Sheikh Shamsi, who lives in Calvert Road. It will be the first time the 37-year-old security officer has ever been tested for coronavirus. "It's good that they are giving these out," he said. "We have to be careful." Sheikh Shamsi (Image: ABNM Photography) Mr Shamsi says he has booked in for his first dose of the vaccine later this month, but remains concerned by the rising number of cases in Bolton. "I'm worried," he said. "People don't seem to care. "Some of the people where I work think Covid is not here - like it is a rumour. "I have followed the rules all along." Another of those who is worried about the rapid spread of the virus is Samuel Koomson. Samuel Koomson (Image: ABNM Photography) "I don't know how it is rising," said the 50-year-old. "Any time I go out to the supermarket, everybody is wearing masks and keeping their distance." Mr Koomson tested positive for the virus earlier this year, but says he never developed any symptoms. He has since been invited to have the vaccine, but says he has no intention of doing so. "It is not going to benefit me," he said. "I am healthy. "If I get the vaccine, I can still get the virus and have to social distance and wear masks. What is the sense?" Council teams knocked on doors around Great Lever, in Bolton, this morning (Image: ABNM Photography) Those leading Bolton's vaccination programme have expressed concern that areas with a lower uptake - Great Lever, Rumworth and Deane - are the same places where rates are rising fastest and cases of the Indian variant are being found. Vaccine uptake in other areas of Bolton among over 70s is above 90 percent, but drops lower in Deane, Rumworth and Great Lever. Asked why people in those parts of town seemed less inclined to get their jab, Dr Helen Wall, senior responsible officer for the vaccination programme in Bolton, said it was down in part to social factors such as deprivation, as well as the availability of the vaccine. Shirley Taylor, 66, is one of those who has been fully vaccinated.
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(Image: ABNM Photography)
It has not been easy, and three of her colleagues have died at the hands of the virus. She says she was looking forward to better days, so her frustration over the rising infection rate is clear. Ms Taylor said: “Three weeks ago, we had one of the lowest rates in Bolton. “It’s rife around here now." Leaders initially linked the rise in cases in Bolton to international travel, particularly India and Pakistan, but there is now evidence of widespread community transmission, including in schools and workplaces.
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The highest infection rates in the town are being seen among younger people, with official data showing a huge spike in cases among schoolchildren. The number of positive tests among children under the age of 14 has tripled in a week, figures released by Public Health England revealed. The data shows that there has so far been no increase in infections among the over 60s, who are the most vulnerable to serious illness caused by Covid-19. However, Ms Taylor fears the virus will start to spread further when restrictions are eased further on Monday.
Door-to-door surge testing is being rolled out in Bolton to curb the spread of coronavirus
(Image: ABNM Photography)
“There is no way I am going near a pub at the minute," she said. "You don't know who you are sitting next to. I hope they get it under control. I just want life to go back to normal." “I’m worried about another local lockdown. “It’s not our fault. We’ve been abiding by the regulations, going out only when we needed to and wearing masks. “I wouldn’t let people into my house until I checked their temperature." As part of the efforts to control the infection rates, a mobile testing centre has been set up at Essa Academy in Great Lever.
Queues outside a mass vaccination centre at Essa Academy, in Bolton, on Saturday
(Image: ABNM Photography)
The pop-up site attracted huge queues on Saturday as a total of 4,000 Pfizer jabs were made available to people who live, work or study in the BL3 or BL4 postcode areas. Bolton Council's cabinet member for adult services Andy Morgan urged everyone to attend, adding that the vaccination team will 'find a reason to vaccinate you'. Naveed Deeba, 31, was one of those queuing up to get vaccinated at the site this weekend. "Everybody who can get the vaccine should be coming," he said.
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"I think it's the only way out of Covid-19. "I have two kids and I can't really afford to fall sick. "My wife has already had the jab. I was just not getting my turn through the NHS and I was told you could come here and get it done so here I am. "I wouldn't want to pass it on to my parents, my two kids, my wife just went through a pregnancy. "I think the risk to them is bad and it's better if I get immunised."
Dr Helen Lowey, Bolton Council's director of public health
(Image: ABNM Photography)
At a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to send the Army in to support the mass testing efforts in Bolton. Bolton Council's director of public health, Dr Helen Lowey welcomed the extra support and urged residents to get tested. She said: "It's really important that people take the tests, even if they don't have any symptoms.
"We want to stop the spread of the virus and contain it. "What we are finding is that it is community transmission. What you tend to find is that the rates within schools or businesses, at the moment it is reflecting that. "We know this particular variant is highly transmissible, so we really want to reduce the numbers. "If anybody does have symptoms, please isolate and book a test."