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Intelligence Bulletin - 5 October, 2020

05 Oct 2020

Local impact

Health

  • The average number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Cornwall has dropped for the first time since the beginning of September. While the total number of detected cases has risen to around 1500 cases since March, the 7-day average for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has declined to around 26 positive cases per day.  The infection rate stands at 259 cases per 100,000 resident population. However, a number of clusters have recently been identified, such as the 170 positive cases that had been detected at a meat processing plant in Pool, with the majority of those who tested positive being asymptomatic.

People testing positive for Covid-19
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
Source: Public Health England (Link)

Economy

  • Since the easing of lockdown restrictions in July, around two million visitors came to Cornwall, according to Visit Cornwall. At a meeting of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) last week, Visit Cornwall Chairman Malcolm Bell called for more financial backing to avoid job losses, as lockdown deficits were still not being made up. However, Mr Bell said he expected visitor numbers for October and November to be higher than in previous years.
  • Leisure Centres across Cornwall will reopen mid-October. Cornwall Council issued a £4million rescue package as well as additional support measures, allowing Greenwich Leisure Ltd (who run the centres) to reopen Saltash, Launceston, Wadebridge and St Ives leisure centres, Ships & Castles in Falmouth and the swimming pools at Bude, Liskeard and Helston.



National impact

Health

  • The latest technical fault in the government’s Covid-19 testing data system has led to nearly 16,000 unreported cases in England between 25 September and 2 October. Cases were added to Public Health England’s daily figures over the weekend, creating a spike in the number of detected cases. So far, more people tested positive than during the first peak of the pandemic in April/May. However, the number of processed tests has also risen. While during the first major outbreak in April/May on average there were only around 20,000 tests being processed in England each day, now the number has risen to more than 200,000 tests, leading to more cases being detected.
  • The Office for National Statistics’ Covid-19 Infection Study shows that around 116,000 people (0.21% of the community population) in England had Covid-19 between 18 and 24 September 2020. The infection rate is highest among teenagers and young adults. Furthermore, almost half of all adults in Great Britain said their well-being was being affected by the pandemic.

Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, daily, by age group since 14 August 2020, England


Economy

  • The chief economist of the Bank of England has criticised the media for their lack of acknowledgement of the UK’s economic recovery so far. Andy Haldane made headlines last week by saying that Britain’s rapid recovery from its Covid-19 slump was being put at risk by undue pessimism and a “Chicken Licken” fear that the sky was about to fall in. Prior to Mr Haldane’s comments, ONS figures demonstrated a fall in GDP by almost 20% between April and June, the largest quarterly contraction in the UK economy since records began in 1955.
  • The ONS Opinion and Lifestyle Survey indicates that the new restrictions announced by the government on 22 September has led to a drop in people leaving home to socialise. Only 2 in 10 adults said they had visited friends and family at their home, a decline by around 10% to the previous week. A similar trend can be observed for eating out and travel within the UK for holidays.
  • With the new 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants causing concerns for the night time economy, the British public is divided on whether the re-opening of pubs was a good idea. According to a recent Yougov poll, half of the British public say the re-opening of pubs was a mistake, while over 40% think it was a good decision. A similar split can be observed when it comes to the question of whether students should be allowed to go back to university.


Transport

  • A report by the National Audit Office reveals that local authorities in England have reduced spending on local transport by 40% over the past decade. At the same time, passenger numbers have fallen and the number of bus journeys outside London shrunk by 10%. The report claims that despite the Department for Transport’s aim to increase the use of public transport, there has not been any systemic improvement yet. The roll-out of Cornwall’s ‘Superbus network’ is scheduled for next year.
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