Portsmouth City Council is urging all residents to follow the latest national coronavirus restrictions, which came into force today (Thursday 5 November).
Despite efforts by residents and businesses in the city to limit infection rates the latest figures show Portsmouth’s infection rate is now increasing in line with the national trend. More than 2,100 people in the city have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began, with 443 confirmed cases in the last seven days.
Helen Atkinson, Director of Public Health Portsmouth City Council, says: “We have seen relatively low infection rates in recent months, however confirmed cases are increasing and local NHS services are seeing increased demand. This means further action is needed to slow the spread of the virus. I know the communities in Portsmouth have done a tremendous amount to reduce the spread of infection and I thank them for that. Now, with support where needed, we all have to continue in that effort together to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
“Your actions over the coming days and weeks will make a difference to how fast the virus spreads in our city. We all have to stay at home as much as possible; work from home if we can; limit the number of times we go out and the number of journeys we take; and only go outdoors for exercise and essentials. When we do need to go out, remember to wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering where required, and really be alert to keeping 2m social distance whenever possible.”
The vast majority of council services will continue to operate throughout these tighter restrictions, though a handful are required to close by law, including museums, leisure centres, tennis and basketball courts and outdoor gym equipment.
Libraries will not be open for general use, but will offer a click and collect service and public computers can be booked for essential use at Beddow, Central, Cosham (up to and including 21 November), North End and Southsea libraries. Online access to books, audiobooks, comics and music is also available, as is the library delivery service offered in partnership with HIVE Portsmouth.
Parking enforcement, including in resident parking zones, will continue as normal for people who need to travel for work, essential shopping and looking after loved ones. Residents are encouraged to take extra care to park considerately during this time.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council’s says: “The city of Portsmouth has gone through a lot in our long history, but perhaps nothing quite like this. We want to reassure you that the council and our partners are still here for you – and we’re hard at work to make sure essential services will continue to be delivered for those that need them.
“Four weeks can seem like a long time, especially if you live alone, so we really need to look out for family members, friends and neighbours, staying connected even if we have to physically keep apart. And most importantly, we need to stay alert and do everything we can to slow to spread of the virus in order to protect our loved ones, our jobs and our city.”
NHS services will continue to be available as well.
Dr Linda Collie, local GP and clinical lead for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group says: “Local NHS services will continue to be available for those that need them. Whether it’s essential screening appointments, routine vaccinations or urgent physical or mental health support, GP surgeries across the city are ready to help. More people are taking advantage of the flexibility and convenience of online appointments, but face-to-face appointments are available for those that need them, with measures in place to keep people safe from infection during visits to surgeries.
“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, do not attend appointments in person. Let your GP practice or location of your appointment know, and they will arrange for you to receive treatment in a way that will keep everyone safe.”
Key points of the new national coronavirus restrictions
Stay at home, except:
- for childcare and education
- for work, if your place of work remains open and you can’t work from home
- to exercise or meet in a public, outdoors space with people you live with, your support bubble(or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.
- for any medical emergencies, appointments or other medical reasons, or to escape risk of injury or harm such as domestic abuse
- for essential shopping, such as food or medicine.
Schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
Support is available for those that need it, particularly those facing financial hardship or those classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ who might face difficulties in isolation.
People without internet access can access information, advice or guidance, by calling the council’s coronavirus information line on 023 9268 8004 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.
If people need support and don’t have family, friends or neighbours who can help, they can contact HIVE Portsmouth, the independent charity managing the community response to the coronavirus pandemic. Call their helpline on 023 9261 6709 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or visit their website hiveportsmouth.org.uk
Full details of restrictions that now apply to Portsmouth can be found online