Calderdale Council's chief executive Robin Tuddenham says pandemic threat is 'not yet over'

The chief executive of Calderdale Council has warned that the pandemic is not yet over for the county a year on from the declaration of a “major incident” as coronavirus rates remain among the highest in the country.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 6:00 am

Robin Tuddenham, co-chairperson of West Yorkshire Prepared local resilience forum , said there was “no clear data” of when the county could stand down from the “unprecedented” major incident status declared on March 20 last year.

Major incidents, usually declared for floods, major fires or similar emergencies, normally last for a day or two due to the intense level of effort required by the numerous agencies involved.

But Mr Tuddenham said that “although we now have a roadmap out of lockdown, as outlined by the Government, this unfortunately doesn’t mean the end of the pandemic”.

Robin Tuddenham, co-chairperson of West Yorkshire Prepared local resilience forum

Though rates of coronavirus are falling in Yorkshire and the Humber, the decrease is slower than in other areas of the country. A breakdown by local authority shows Hull, Bradford, Wakefield, Rotherham and Barnsley all in the top 10 areas of the country for the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Mr Tuddenham said: “Although we now have a roadmap out of lockdown, as outlined by the Government, this unfortunately doesn’t mean the end of the pandemic.

"As it currently stands, there is no clear date of when we will be able to ‘stand down’ from this Major Incident. While the number of people being admitted to hospitals with Covid-19 is the lowest since before Christmas, infection rates still remain high in West Yorkshire compared with the rest of the country, though they are falling steadily.

“Let’s do all we can to work together to reduce risk, keep safe and protect each other from harm. We have come a long way, and can begin to rebuild but need to be patient and mindful that we are not through this yet.”

Today marks one year since a ‘Major Incident’ was declared in West Yorkshire in response to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, three days ahead of the first lockdown being implemented across the country.

As the country looks to lift restrictions to ease out of the third lockdown, the region’s Local Resilience Forum (LRF) looks back on an extraordinary year and considers ‘what next?’

Dave Walton, co-Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared and Deputy Chief Fire Officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We should all be extremely proud of what we have achieved together so far, for as bad as this has been for us all, it could have been far, far worse. However, our over-riding message to everyone in West Yorkshire is this isn’t over yet. While we can definitely see light at the end of the tunnel, we need everyone to keep playing their part by continuing to follow the guidance.”

On March 29, people will once again be able to meet up with another household, or up to six people, outdoors. With this in mind, and with the approach of the Easter holidays, West Yorkshire Prepared is asking people in the region to continue to be mindful when out and about, avoid crowded areas and continue to follow social distancing rules.

Tyron Joyce, co-Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared and Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, said: “I want to thank the vast majority of the public who have sought to apply and live within the various restrictions over the last 12 months. We all hope these restrictions will ease soon but, until that time, we would ask for your patience and support to keep the risk of infection as low as we possibly can.”