A SEASIDE town has had no reported coronavirus cases in two months – and it’s one of three areas of the south hailed as ‘the places Covid forgot’.
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Sidmouth in Devon hasn’t recorded a Covid cases in two monthsCredit: Alamy Live News
The Isles of Scilly and areas of rural north Cornwall haven’t seen an infection in even longer
Elsewhere, rural Poundstock and Kilkhampton in north Cornwall last registered a case on January 6.
In Sidmouth, it’s believed residents’ success – even during January, when cases spiralled and the UK’s daily death rate hit an average of 900 in the first fortnight – is based on their caution.
The town also has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country.
It comes as:
However, essential shops allowed to open during lockdown remain busy.
Thea Vincent, 89, a clergyman’s widow, told The Times: “Because we’re an older society we’d rather stay alive a little longer.”
Her friend Rosemary Bourne, 84, said: “We don’t know anyone who has had Covid.
“The community we live in, it’s just hugely vigilant and everyone is so careful.”
The Government identifies 6,791 ‘middle layer super output areas’ in England – meaning there are between 2,000 and 6,000 households there.
Sidmouth has the third highest proportion of over-70s in one of these areas, with 40 per cent, and the fifth highest vaccination rate at 58.5 per cent.
The last case reported in the town was on January 13.
Nigel Winchester, 56, who owns a fruit and veg shop, told the paper residents initially “panicked” during the first lockdown – and he had to “take the phone off the hook” to deal with mounting orders.
Rural Poundstock and Kilkhampton in Cornwall last recorded a case in early JanuaryCredit: Alamy
The UK’s daily Covid death toll has dropped by 81 per cent in a month amid a successful jabs roll-out and tough lockdown measures
However, this time around, he said: “In this lockdown people weren’t panicking so much, and they realised it’s not so bad.”
Mike Fletcher 72, said he and wife Pam usually wear their masks, even when walking outside.
Across most of the country, Covid rates are plunging. However, in 18 areas of England – six per cent of the country – infections are rising.
Currently, Derbyshire Dales has the highest rate in England, with 116 new cases recorded in the seven days to March 6 – the equivalent of 160.4 cases per 100,000 people.
That’s a huge rise from 63.6 per 100,000 the previous week.
East Devon – a district just eight-and-a-half miles from Sidmouth – has also recorded a rise from 41.7 to 59.5.
Cases are rising in Canterbury in Kent, Craven in North Yorkshire and Uttlesford in Essex.
Yesterday, it was revealed that the UK’s death rate has dropped more than 80 per cent on this time last month.
Another 190 casualties were recorded yesterday – a huge drop on February 10, when 1,001 more deaths were reported.
The Scilly Isles hasn’t had a case of Covid since SeptemberCredit: Alamy
The island off the coast of Cornwall was previous in Tier 1 – meaning residents could enjoy a pint without a meal – before the full national lockdown was announcedCredit: Andrew Lloyd – The Sun
Meanwhile, a further 5,926 people tested positive overnight – a drop of 54 per cent on February 10, when 13,013 people were newly-diagnosed.
But Boris Johnson says he won’t unlock the country any quicker than planned.
And experts have warned that any easing of measures will result in further deaths, even with the success of the UK’s jabs roll-out.
Sage scientist Professor Andrew Hayward, of University College London (UCL), said reopening schools, pubs and shops are “very big steps” and “we don’t really understand what impact they will have on transmission”.
He said there are “very sizeable numbers of people” who are “vulnerable to ending up in hospital and dying”.
England’s Covid hotspots
The worst-affected areas in the country this week are:
Derbyshire Dales, with a rate of 160.4 cases per 100,000 people
Hull: 152.8 per 100,000
Rotherham: 151.8 per 100,000
South Holland: 144.2 per 100,000
Barnsley: 142.6 per 100,000
Preston: 142.5 per 100,000
Bradford: 141.5 per 100,00
Peterborough: 140.9 per 100,000
Redditch: 137.2 per 100,000
South Derbyshire: 136.1 per 100,000
“That’s still going to be the case for a while,” he said.
“Although the vaccines clearly take the extreme out of that, and will stop us getting hundreds of thousands of cases, there’s still possibilities for us to get tens of thousands of hospitalisations and very many deaths if we relax too quickly.”
England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty gave a similar warning this week – and said that no matter what happens, scientists believe there will be yet another wave.
Speaking at a hearing of the Science and Technology Committee, he said projections show more will die – as a “significant minority” will fall ill even if fully vaccinated.
“As things open up we will get a surge in the virus,” he said.
“Whether that happens, we hope not soon, but it might happen later in summer if we open gradually.
“All modelling suggests a further surge that will find people either not vaccinated or where the vaccine has not worked.”
Boris Johnson has vowed not to unlock the country sooner amid fears of new super-infectious mutant strains of Covid