'Covid-19 hasn’t gone away' warn Hartlepool health chiefs, as cases rise while the end of free testing approaches

Concerns have been raised by Hartlepool councillors over the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and free testing.

By Nic Marko
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 12:02 pm

Despite the government setting out its ‘Living with Covid’ plans for England, health chiefs for the town continue to warn that “Covid-19 hasn’t gone away”.

But a recent rise in Covid-19 cases has worried Craig Blundred, Hartlepool Borough Council’s director of public health.

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“The most important thing I can say at this point in time is Covid hasn’t gone away, despite the changes in regulations and guidance, we still have a significant number of Covid cases at the moment,” he told the latest meeting of the council’s Audit and Governance Committee.

Cllr Carl Richardson raised concerns the end of free testing could affect the ability of authorities to track the disease, while panel chairman Rob Cook said he had “serious concerns and reservations” over what is a “very emotive issue.”

Cllr Cook added: “Taking the restrictions out in its entirety I think would be quite foolish.

“We all hear rumours they’re going to charge for testing kits and that does concern me in a town like Hartlepool, if you’re having to purchase something like that, because we all know money is tighter now than it’s ever been.”

Mr Blundred noted it was an issue which they were aware of and had pushed “back up the chain”.

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