Covid rate rise concern

It's so sad to see Swindon right at the top of Covid-19 infection rates in the West country again, and this after several weeks when we were doing better. Its rather concerning the narrative is going back to mentioning complacency in the population as the reason for these higher rates without giving any evidence as to why that conclusion has been reached. If specific behaviours are to blame what are they and what needs to be done to stamp them out?

There remains a continued issue with workplace outbreaks. Its good that car sharing is being discouraged but what about public transport, which many use to go to work? When will the bus companies be compelled to keep windows open during journeys to improve ventilation. This could be so easily done if opening windows was part of the bus drivers checklist at the beginning of a journey. Why is no enforcement being carried out here?

What about workplace testing. Why is it not compulsory for people coming back from self-isolation to have a negative test result in the 24 hours before they restart work. Covid infection periods vary enormously from person to person, this is widely known and there are WHO guidelines on the matter. Also companies must allow Covid apps to be active during work time and not ban mobile phone use.

We heard a few weeks ago that a couple of companies had been fined for breaking Covid-19 protocols but nothing since. How are these inspections going? Are they being done, as they should be, without warning, so companies have no time to hide non-compliance with guidelines?

Asymptomatic testing launched recently with great fanfare but only restricted to council staff, had the result, in its first phase, of no cases were found. It is a good idea but it needs to be extended to at risk workplaces and, of course, soon to schools. What are the other special measures coming soon mentioned at the time, when will they be introduced?

The locations of the cases suggests that care homes may still be an issue. Is this because staff and carers have not been vaccinated? If that is the case the necessary measures need to be taken and these people vaccinated as soon as possible.

As far as supermarkets are concerned are they still posing a significant problem? Is enough being done to improve ventilation and enforce social distancing? Ventilation is key and has been recognised by central government as a major factor in reducing infections.

Finally why the silence and inactivity concerning FFP 2 masks which have been so successful in keeping infection rates down in Germany? Why no aggressive promotion of vitamin D supplements. Especially after the publication of recent clinical trial results in Spain? Is it impossible for our public health department to learn from best practice outside the UK?

What we need from Steve Maddern and his team is to know exactly where the outbreaks are occurring, in what settings and know exactly what they are doing to keep numbers down. Knowledge is power and accountability is needed. We require easy availability of FFP2 masks and vitamin D supplements to go together with the continued rollout of a successful vaccination programme. It is clear the vaccination programme is not enough on its own.

The current lack of clarity and transparency is not an option. Being the Covid 19 capital of the South West is doing our reputation as a town no good at all and is not going to help us find the business investment, which is so desperately needed. So please more joined up thinking and proactivity. We need more focused guidance and action from the powers that be not blaming the population without giving good reason.

Jonathan Sheldrake

Priam House


Think again on 30mph

The 30mph limit on Great Western Way at the Barnfield roundabout (SA, February 26) has caught me out in the past and I'm usually a careful driver. I feel the council should think again about putting in more warning signs because it's a safety issue.

Stephen Wright,