Cold and flu season starting to combine with covid to pose increased risk to Sunderland, leader warns in plea for Wearsiders to unite against virus

Wearsiders have been urged to follow Covid-19 restrictions to help stop health and social care services being “overwhelmed” by the virus.

Thursday, 24th September 2020, 11:58 am
Cllr Graeme Miller, the leader of Sunderland City Council

Chiefs say the pandemic, combining with seasonal colds and flus, is posing a serious threat to the city.

The Government announced new national Covid-19 restrictions on September 22, which followed on from stricter measures for the whole of the North East announced just days before.

Sunderland City Council’s leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, issued an urgent plea for everyone to stick to the rules and do their bit during a coronavirus update at a virtual council meeting on Wednesday, September 23.

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“I cannot stress enough how important it is for each and every one of us in the city to follow the rules, to understand the risk is still there and to look after ourselves and everyone around us,” he said.

“We’re about to start seeing the added impact of the onset of the usual seasonal viruses – the colds and flus that we get at this time of year – so we simply cannot afford to let Covid-19 get out of control, to infect our residents on a widespread scale and overwhelm health and social care services.”

Cllr Miller noted the “phenomenal efforts” of residents, council staff, public servants, volunteers, businesses and partners who have supported the city during these “unprecedented times.”

This included the £44million worth of business grants paid out by the council, the work of children and adult social care teams, efforts to keep disruption to environmental services to an “absolute minimum”, nearly 1,000 volunteers stepping up to the plate and close links with the voluntary and community sector.

Cllr Miller added that plans had been put in place to aid the city’s recovery from Covid-19 going forward, with several regeneration projects completed or in development.

Councillors heard that recent local restrictions for the seven North East local authorities were also evidence-led and designed to safeguard and protect residents, businesses and the region’s continued recovery from lockdown.

However, Cllr Miller warned that entering another full lockdown would be “nothing short of catastrophic” with North East leaders taking the initiative and “acting before it was too late.

”The council leader also called on the Government to continue listening to North East councils about issues with the test and trace system and to recognise the knowledge and expertise councils have to tackle Covid-19 at a local level.

He added: “We also need them to hear us on the issue of resources – we simply cannot achieve recovery from Covid-19 with a gaping hole in our finances and as a member of the local government family, we will not stop making our case for the sake of our residents and holding central government to its pledge back in March to do and I quote, ‘whatever it takes to support councils in their front-line fight against Covid-19.’”

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