Town praised for 'sensible and cautious' response to Indian variant

Covid testing in Needham Market, Suffolk

A mobile testing site has opened in Needham Market after three new cases of the Indian variant were identified in the area - Credit: Archant

Needham Market has been praised for its "sensible and cautious" response after cases of the Indian variant were found in the town.

Extensive testing has been carried out in the area after several cases of the variant were found there

Kevin Hunter, clerk at Needham Market Town Council, said residents had taken the threat of the new variant seriously. 

"People responded immediately, which was evident in the number that went to be tested," said Mr Hunter. 

"It's a reflection on the town's overall response to Covid from day one.

"The community have been sensible and cautious." 

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill is also a junior health minister Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jo Churchill called on residents to get tested regularly - Credit: Gregg Brown

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MP Jo Churchill, whose Bury St Edmunds constituency covers Needham Market, said she had kept a close eye on the situation. 

“Last weekend I had conversations with the local director of public health and local councillors to ensure the system was working and that residents felt assisted," said Ms Churchill. 

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"I understand the system locally stood up well and thank all those involved for their hard work.

"Our ask of residents is to continue to maintain distancing, wear masks, wash hands, ventilate when indoors with other people and test regularly at the mobile site on Hurstlea Road, or by using lateral flow tests. 

"I will continue to have close contact with the clinical commissioning group and Suffolk public health teams and would ask any constituents with concerns to contact my office if they require further assistance.”

Dave Lee-Allan, chairman of the Suffolk Association of Secondary Heads Picture: ARCHANT

Dave Lee-Allan said that the school was monitoring the situation - Credit: Gregg Brown

Dave Lee-Allan, headmaster at Stowmarket High School - which takes on secondary pupils from Needham Market - said it too was monitoring the situation. 

"We have not implemented any new strategies apart from the existing sanitising process," said Mr Lee-Allan. 

"We have not asked students to go back to wearing facemasks."

Mr Lee-Allan said the school would not implement any new measures unless told to by public health officials. 

He said they would continue to follow scientific advice and that he had not heard concerns from parents so far.

"That reassures me that parents have been informed and they seem accepting of the strategies we have," he said.

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