Anneliese Dodds
Anneliese Dodds
I am aware of reports of increasing cases in Eastern Oxford, and I have been in touch with the Director of Public Health in Oxfordshire to find out the latest information and keep up to date. I know that the Director of Public Health is working closely with the City Council to take action and everyone is working hard locally to address this increase.
However, worryingly, there still appear to be issues with centralised processes. In my last column, I raised the issues the government needed to quickly resolve if local responses to spikes in the virus are to be as effective as we desperately need them to be. For example, there are still significant problems and delays with the Test, Track and Trace System, with information not being provided speedily to the front-line. Really, this information should be transferred within 24 hours of it being recorded – with the appropriate data protections in place, of course.
Environmental Health has been working very hard on this in Oxford, checking the situation with Test and Trace across the city with different local businesses. I know that the vast majority of businesses really want to comply – we must ensure that the right structures are in place to ensure the system can work smoothly and effectively.
Nationally, there has been lots of worrying news recently. Additional restrictions have now been imposed in some of North West England, specifically Greater Manchester, and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, and previously planned openings have been postponed nationally.
On Saturday, Boris Johnson announced that:
  • Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed. Indoor performances will not resume.
  • Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place.
  • Wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted, but ceremonies can continue to take place, in line with COVID-Secure guidelines.


I know this will be a huge blow for theatres and other indoor entertainment businesses, and for the beauty industry. I sympathise with constituents who had made new wedding plans, which have now been postponed again. And I know the enormous pressures on many local businesses which are reliant on close contact and which are still not able to reopen.


A clear message is crucial at this time. We should not have had a late-night last-minute announcement of additional restrictions in North West England. I sympathise with those who had planned for Eid celebrations with family, cancelled late the evening before. It was concerning that these additional restrictions were beset by poor communication with authorities and residents. There must be a properly planned out process, and, if necessary contingency plans in place for every area working with central government.



This remains a very difficult time for many, and I understand that this may be a particularly worrying time for those affected by the increase in local cases. I do hope all of my constituents stay safe, and I will keep working with local authorities to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep people safe and supported throughout this crisis.

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