Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for ‘decisive action’ from the Government to stem a rapid rise in cases in the region, including bringing in the military to fix the current testing crisis.
The Mayor has urged the Government to:
- Unlock laboratory testing capacity to increase the number of tests that can be processed
- Integrate testing to enable a joined-up approach to testing
- Urgently introduce priority access to testing for our key workers
- Provide clearer public messaging on isolation if it is not possible to get a test
In the letter Mayor Jarvis called for decisive action from the Government to stem a rapid rise in cases in the region, including bringing in the military to fix the current testing crisis.
Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “There is no bigger priority for the country than the immediate resolution of the current capacity and timeliness of the testing system. Without this it is impossible to understand and manage the scale of the problem we face. This is essential in retaining public trust and faith to follow the guidance that it is given.
“Now is the moment to act decisively, before we see more lives, jobs and businesses across South Yorkshire put at risk. For this reason, I would strongly urge you to immediately utilise the excellent, strategic capabilities within our Armed Forces to help manage the current crisis regarding testing. Their logistical expertise exemplified by the rate at which they established the Nightingale Hospitals would be as of great a use now, as it was then. The country must draw upon every resource at its disposal if we are to manage the risk posed by COVID in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
The Mayor says the region is at a ‘critical point’ in the fight against the pandemic and reiterated his call for people to stick to the guidance to prevent the virus spreading further across South Yorkshire.
He said: “Across the North, case numbers are spiralling out of control. I am in close contact with our Directors of Public Health, Local Authorities and our NHS to look at what further action can be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our region. As it stands, cases are too high and we won’t hesitate to call on Government to bring in local lockdown measures if they rise further.
“Our councils and our NHS are working incredibly hard to manage coronavirus cases in South Yorkshire and as individuals we all have a contribution to make to our region’s efforts against this disease. If we don’t all follow guidance on social distancing, face coverings and self-isolation now, we face another lockdown – and more lives, jobs and businesses will be put in danger.”