LIVERPOOL COVID RATES: Cases hit new low
Liverpool's coronavirus rate has dipped again slightly as infection levels appear to be under control in most parts of the city.
This is good news for the city following the reopening of non-essential shops and hospitality reopen, albeit for outdoor service only. It comes as preparation continues for a series of large scale pilot events.
Liverpool Council's daily coronavirus report from Friday put the city's infection rate at 13.7 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to April 20, one of the lowest levels since last summer.
All but two of the city's 30 wards are now reporting less than five cases per week.
The remaining two, Princes Park and Picton, still have relatively troubling rates of the virus.
Princes Park's case rate currently stands at 63.3 cases per 100,000 people, while Picton's is 35.5 cases per 100,000 people.
The 20 cases reported in the two wards account for almost a third of the city's cases over the week.
Overall, the city's infection rate remains fairly stable, with slight rises reported earlier in the week before a slight dip towards the end.
The low rates currently being reported are encouraging for the government's reopening timetable and for the council's participation in a mass events pilot.
The programme, which will include two club nights and a concert in Sefton Park, will see attendees not asked to socially distance or wear masks.
Instead, they will be tested both before and after the events in an attempt to figure out a pathway to bring large events back as we move through the next phases of a pandemic response.
Writing earlier this week, Liverpool's public health boss Matt Ashton and the dean of Liverpool University's Institute of Population Health, Professor Iain Buchan, said low infection rates meant there was "no better time" to hold the events pilot.
Also encouraging is the continued rise in vaccination numbers.
According to government data, almost 220,000 of the city's residents have now had a Covid-19 jab.
Public health experts continue to encourage anyone eligible, which includes anyone over 45, to get a vaccine as soon as they can.
The latest figures should be viewed as a positive, especially given the most recent relaxation of the rules on April 12, which allowed non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality to reopen, albeit for outdoor service only.
And to give a boost to those bars and restaurants which have chosen to open up, Liverpool has formally secured more than £2m towards supporting outdoor dining in the city as the hospitality sector tries to recover from the pandemic.
Liverpool Council's cabinet swiftly approved the acceptance of the grant of £2.3m from the combined authority in order to assist with the continuation of the Without Walls programme.
The initial scheme last year saw major city roads such as Castle Street, Bold Street and Lark Lane shut to traffic to allow businesses to operate outside in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A report to councillors previously said that more than 150 businesses were helped by the scheme.
The funding will see the creation of two new roles to oversee this year's rollout and attempt to remedy some issues with the temporary nature of the current infrastructure.
The cabinet report had warned that the scheme could fail this year unless changes to the city's highways were made to adapt to the scheme.
Funding is also set to be given to the other five boroughs in the city region, with all of them set to share findings.
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