Torbay set to be ‘beacon’ in developing new test and trace plans

The new test and trace approach has been launched

The new test and trace approach has been launched - Credit: Archant

Our Bay has had a remarkable turnaround in its position from being one of the initial hotspots for coronavirus in early March, to being one of the lowest in the country, with a recent period of a week with no new cases identified or deaths at Torbay Hospital.

This is not only a tribute to the staff working on the frontline of our NHS and social care services, but all who did their bit, especially those who had to make the most difficult sacrifices of all when their loved ones passed away and they could not give them the send-off they deserved.

The new Test and Trace approach has been launched nationally and Torbay Council is set to become a 'beacon council' in developing new test and trace plans for local areas.

Councils will receive a share of £300 million to help establish these local plans, which will include coordination and management of infection control, tracking and tracing, and local testing arrangements.

Whatever anyone's thoughts on recent national news we should all want this to work for the sake of our bay and those we most care about.

VOLUNTEERS

As it is Volunteers Week I want to thank all those who answered the call to do their bit over recent weeks.

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From those who directly supported our NHS to those who ensured their vulnerable neighbours got their weekly essentials, everyone made a difference.

The final 'Clap for our Carers' was a mark of our gratitude to them as well.

WELCOME BACK

Car showrooms and garden centres have now re-opened, with many shops set to join them on June 15 as the restrictions related to coronavirus are relaxed.

It could soon be the turn of our much-battered tourism industry to re-open, with many across the Bay getting plans in place to do so.

This summer will be very different to others, no large events pulling crowds onto Paignton Green, no packed night clubs or venues to dance the night away.

Yet the core reasons tourists have headed here since the railways first arrived remain, our natural beauty and our glorious beaches.

During the lockdown visitors we advised visitors to 'Come Back Later'. Now with Covid-19 in retreat, test and trace in place and measures in place to ensure a safe stay for visitors, staff, and residents, it will soon be time to say 'Welcome Back' not only to previous visitors, but many considering a staycation instead of their usual summer abroad.

Making a success of this summer season could determine how many of our businesses are still here to welcome visitors back next year.

SURGERY TIMES

Based on current advice relating to coronavirus, I have cancelled my regular advice surgeries and drop-in sessions at my East Street office until further notice.

I hope to restart them as soon as possible but in the meantime a telephone call surgery appointment can be arranged.

You can call and leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

I also run a weekly update service via email about my work in parliament and here in the Bay.

You can join the list to receive it by emailing me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com with the word 'subscribe' in the subject line.