This year we’ve seen residents across the city pull together on many occasions to help one another and to encourage others to follow the rules to reduce rates of the virus.
I strongly believe it is this sense of community spirit, which makes Peterborough such a great place to live and work, which has helped to keep our rates of the virus below many other places across the country.
It is this same spirit and determination that we need to see once again from our communities, with Coronavirus now spreading across Peterborough at the highest rate we have seen since the first lockdown.
Currently we are seeing more than 200 people per 100,000 infected with the virus and it’s affecting people across the whole city – all age groups and backgrounds. Worryingly, we are seeing more people over 60 catching the virus who are potentially at greater risk.
Unfortunately, quite a few people got infected in the week before lockdown started – going out to ‘beat the lockdown’. This is understandable, but as we warned you at the time, it means we now have further to go to halt its progress. And because of this we all need to do more.
This week our Director of Public Health, Dr Liz Robin, issued a video blog urging people to take action now to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our health services. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it on our YouTube channel.
I will reiterate her advice, because we are now seeing more people in our hospital and they are sicker than they were before, so we need to work harder to prevent our figures from spiralling out of control.
- Reduce contact with people outside of your own household to the absolute minimum, as this is how the virus is passed on.
- Only leave home for essential reasons – to go to school, college or work if you cannot work from home, for medical or safety reasons, to get food and other essential shopping, or to provide care for others.
- Work from home if at all possible.
- Self-isolate if you test positive or are a contact of someone who is – there’s lots of support to help you do this, so there’s really no reason not to.
If we don’t take action now we risk more people getting sick and potentially dying – and not just from Coronavirus. The increased pressure on hospitals and health services will affect us all.
News of a potential vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel – but it will be months before it can help us all and we need to all make a final push for Peterborough now and stop Covid in its tracks.
A Virtual Christmas Switch-on
Normally at this time of year we’d be preparing to welcome thousands of people to the city centre for our Christmas lights switch on.
Our 40ft Spruce Christmas tree is already in Cathedral Square, but sadly the public switch-on cannot take place due to the pandemic.
However, residents can still get into the festive spirit with a virtual Christmas lights switch-on instead. The 15 minute pre-recorded event will be streamed online across our digital platforms on Wednesday 2 December at 7pm.
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Community Radio presenter Kev Lawrence will once again be hosting the switch-on and there will be special appearances from local guests.
Please don’t turn up to this event – it is being pre-recorded to avoid large crowds gathering.
Once Peterborough reopens, subject to government restrictions being lifted, there will also be fairground rides from 2 December as well as a Christmas craft market from 2-6 December.
POSH in Parliament
I was delighted last week to see the national spotlight shining on the council and Peterborough United Football Club in the Houses of Parliament no less.
During a parliamentary debate, North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara highlighted the economic and health and wellbeing benefits of bringing spectators back to football grounds, even in a limited capacity, once lockdown restrictions are eased.
He also invited Nigel Huddleston MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to visit Peterborough, an offer he is very keen to take up.
In addition, he said that opening the stadium – even in a limited way – would benefit the club in celebrating the life and career of Posh legend Tommy Robson.
Tommy, who made a record 559 first team appearances for the Posh, sadly passed away last month. Earlier this year he was given the Freedom of the City for his phenomenal contribution to the club, as well as his dedicated charity work.
We will continue to work closely with the football club and MP Vara to promote the many benefits that our much-loved football club delivers to the city.
We will also continue to work with the club to see what we can do locally to remember Tommy and his incredible achievements.
Temporary car park on former Northminster site
Finally, a reminder that our new temporary car park on the site of the former Northminster multi storey car park has opened to the public.
We’ve opened the car park to give residents, shoppers and businesses a helping hand in the run up to Christmas and are confident it will help the city centre to thrive once lockdown restrictions are eased.
As ever you can rest assured that we will continue to work hard to keep you safe and to keep the city moving forward.