Take care, but get on with life as covid cases rise, says MP Dr Dan Poulter

Dr Dan Poulter

Dr Dan Poulter felt it was safe for most people to go out - but they should still take precautions like wearing masks in crowded indoor places. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Rising Covid figures across Suffolk should encourage people to take more care in the precautions they take – but should not force basically-healthy people back into a self-imposed lockdown, a senior MP has said.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, who is vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus and a former health minister, said much of the rising level of infection in the county was being driven by children at school for whom the illness was usually not particularly serious.

But there was a risk that they could pass it on to other members of their families who in turn could take it into the wider community – and people needed to take precautions.

He said: "I would say those who are basically healthy and have not been warned by their doctors to avoid contact that they should get on with life – it should be fine to go shopping or go out for a meal or meet friends for a drink or have a coffee.

"But it is sensible to take precautions - wear a mask in indoor settings like shops or on public transport. But for most people it isn't necessary to let covid rule your life."

He said that the statistics from hospitals showed that the vaccines did seem to be working very well in breaking the link between infection and serious illness or death.

"That is something we have to keep a close eye on, but at the moment it does seem as if things are relatively stable there and there is no immediate threat of the NHS being overwhelmed."

The latest figures show that the Covid rate in Suffolk is about 450 cases per 100,000 but in Ipswich the figure is about 700 cases per 100,000 – the highest it has been since records were kept.

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However, the number of people being treated in hospitals serving the county has remained much lower than in the previous peaks of last winter and in the spring of 2020.

Dr Poulter said: "So long as that remains the case, I don't think there will be any need for more restrictions for the general public – but we have to keep a close eye on what is happening and as individuals we do need to be aware of how to minimise our risk."

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