Organisations providing a voice for rural England have written to Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the hope that a more locally driven approach to managing the pandemic can be adopted in the countryside.
The coalition argues that a one size fits all solution, managed centrally from London will not serve rural communities well
The Rural Coalition – a group of thirteen national organisations who subscribe to a vision for a living and working countryside in England coordinated by ACRE – claims that health and care infrastructure could be easily overwhelmed if there were an upsurge of Covid19 cases in more remote parts of the country.
The letter argues that whilst it is too late to stop the virus spreading to rural counties through travel restrictions, stopping intra-community transmission will be paramount to avoiding any sudden spike of cases.
The coalition argues that a one size fits all solution, managed centrally from London will not serve rural communities well. Instead it argues that tracking and tracing of the virus will be most effective where it makes the most of local capacity, “led through public health authorities at county level and implemented, in partnership with communities, as locally as possible”.
This follows calls from the Local Government Association for the government earlier in May to work closer with councils who have a range of in-house expertise that can be deployed to fight the pandemic including environmental health, trading standards, public health.
The group is offering its combined expertise and reach into rural communities to government to help consider how a locally led track and trace infrastructure could be rolled out in the countryside.