Deepening coronavirus crisis leads to ‘major incident’ declaration in Suffolk

An NHS catch it, bin it, kill it sign Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

An NHS catch it, bin it, kill it sign Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The worsening COVID-19 crisis has led to it being officially declared a “major incident” in Suffolk.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Partners in the Suffolk Resilience Forum, including councils, health bodies and emergency services, had already joined forces to respond to coronavirus.

But the decision was taken on Friday March 20 to declare the major incident, formalising joint-working and resource-sharing arrangements.

Latest figures show there are 13 confirmed cases in Suffolk, though there are thought to be others unrecorded.

MORE: Keep up to date by joining our Suffolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Dr Jenny Harries speaking at a media brief

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Dr Jenny Harries speaking at a media briefing in Downing Street, London PA Video/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said: “Public bodies have well-established close working arrangements that prepare us for this kind of situation.


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“This decision simply formalises those arrangements and makes sure we’re making decisions together in a fully coordinated way.

“This is about making sure we use the resources and people available to us to tackle COVID-19 effectively. The best advice we can give people is to continue to follow all the official guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect vulnerable people and protect the NHS.”

MORE: Pubs and restaurants told to close to combat virus

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The ‘major incident’ declaration means public organisations will work even closer than usual to tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19, including joint decision making, information-sharing and on the ground support for Suffolk residents.

A major incident is called when the situation is believed to be beyond ‘business-as-usual’ operations and when there is the heightened risk of serious harm, damage, disruption or threat to human life or welfare.

Suffolk Police will now chair the Resilience Forum’s Strategic Coordination Group, taking over from Suffolk County Council’s public health team.

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