Health and Wellbeing

Local Outbreak Plans will be supplementary to national testing and tracing arrangements

coronavirus cell

Posted on: 28 May 2020

Last Friday the Government announced that Councils will receive a share of an extra £300m to help establish local outbreak plans which will include local coordination and management of infection control and of local testing and tracing arrangements. 

We welcomed that announcement because it’s something we’ve been calling for.

We’ve been asked how those plans sit alongside the Government’s announcement today (28 May) about national testing and tracing.

These arrangements, to establish local outbreak plans, are supplementary to the national testing and tracing arrangements, and are to be in place across the country by the end of June.

We will be one of 11 national Beacon Councils – the only one in the South West – to help lead and share good practice across the region.

The vast majority of Devon residents have acted with great sense and responsibility throughout the pandemic and the County has had the lowest number of outbreaks throughout the crisis.

There are local concerns however that if lockdown is released too quickly or if there is a huge influx of visitors then that this could cause a second peak of infection. At the same time many local businesses, particularly in the tourism and leisure sectors, are reliant on visitors.

A locally managed outbreak response which can quickly spot and then mobilise all our local resources to contain any new clusters of infection or hotspots is seen as a good way to ensure that the release of lockdown can be managed more effectively and safely.

Photo of Cllr John Hart sat at a desk

Cllr John Hart

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council said:

“Devon County Council welcomed the Government’s announcement late last week that local councils were to be asked to play a more central role in developing new local track and trace plans for their local areas.

“These local outbreak plans will supplement and support the national track and trace system launched today and will put local authorities at the forefront of responding swiftly to help manage any local outbreak or hotspot before it spreads too far.

“The expectation is that local plans covering the whole country will be in place by the end of June, but as a Beacon Council for the South West we expect arrangements in Devon to be place sooner.

“We are currently working as fast as we can with all our local partners to build on the great work already done by everyone so far to develop plans that really work for Devon and the wider South West and can help our communities get back up and running again as safely and as soon as possible.

“A key part of this will be to ensure public trust and confidence in the process locally and we will be making sure we are as transparent as possible and that as many people as possible feel they are a part of this process.”

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