The photo above illustrates Tony Edwards’ comment on our story “Bins, exclusive” about a current eyesore in Rye and, in the current lockdown, Rye News‘ readers’ comments often provide as much news as the events which normally might have taken place.
The sun, not surprisingly, has brought many people out of their homes to enjoy the fresh air but, also not surprisingly, it has also increased the chances of the pandemic spreading again as people ignore government guidance on social distancing and staying in their local area. It was worrying to hear mid week that the Covid-19 infection rate in Hastings was rising to more than double the rate in Rother District, which is still falling.
Sussex Police issued 258 FPN (Fixed Penalty Notices) fines under government regulations last weekend to people travelling long distances for views of the sea or countryside, including apparently a motorcyclist travelling from Ashford to Rye to “take photos”.
Whether any fines were issued in Rye is not known, but Kitty Cooper’s call to the non-emergency police 101 number apparently resulted in a police car turning up at Strand Quay and the bikers gathered there quietly dispersing. Other residents in Strand Quay or elsewhere may wish to follow that example if the problem repeats itself.
Thousands still in hospital
It is tempting when the overnment announces a phased reduction in lockdown rules, and the numbers affected appegar to be falling as the number vaccinated increases, to leap into optimism, and forget all the rules.
But thousands suffering from Covid-19 are still occupying hospital beds, infection rates in some parts of the UK are still rising, and a new variant of the virus from Brazil has arrived in this country – despite more controls at airports. However, schools are going back shortly and many businesses are planning to re-open as much as they can, as soon as they can – but all this activity poses risks.
Before Christmas the rising infection rates in Hastings then were preceded by a number of school closures (with some local pupils returning to Hastings schools shortly), and it was noticeable in Rye itself before Christmas that there was little social distancing and few face masks in evidence as buses unloaded the pupils in Station Approach.
However, children as well as adults can transmit the disease, though the children may be less likely to become very ill, which is why many teachers have been (and still are) very cautious and anxious about the “return to school” – and perhaps we should worry too.
Our optimism should be cautious
But causes for concern are not yet slowing down either the loosening of lockdown restrictions, or the race to vaccinate everybody, and I understand that vaccination arrangements at Etchingham are taking into account (with schools shortly re-opening to all pupils) the impact of the school day on both their work, and how people can get to and from the vaccination centre.
Rye Community Transport, for example, which has been taking some people to and fro for their vaccinations, also provides school bus services, and the car park at Etchingham will have to cater for parents dropping off and picking up their children at the end and the beginning of the school day.
Vaccination timetables may therefore have to cater for school hours until the Easter holidays start, and after – provided the government’s timetable stays in place. But it will, we are told, be driven by data which is, in turn, driven by events.
And those events can be driven by people, you and me, unwittingly and carelessly (and sometimes maybe deliberately) spreading infection by not following the rules and, while vaccination may protect you, it does not stop you spreading infection – even if you do not know you are infected.
Image Credits: Nick Forman .