Marvin Rees has warned we should be “concerned but not alarmed” about a rise in coronavirus cases in Bristol.
The city’s mayor revealed there had been 41 cases in the last seven days up to Wednesday afternoon (August 26), the second week running that has seen a mini-surge in Covid-19.
This compares with 35 the week before and only ten the seven days prior to that.
He said the number of infections represented a “steady increase” and that a bigger rise could force a local lockdown.
It comes as Bristol moved into the top quarter of local authorities with the highest coronavirus rate, rising 39 places to 75th out of 315 council areas up to August 23.
Speaking during a fortnightly Facebook Live on Wednesday, he said: “We should be concerned because we should be in a permanent state of concern about Covid.
“What we should not be is alarmed because the prevalence of Covid among our population is still relatively low.
“We are around eight per 100,000 (population). The national average is about ten in places in other parts of the country, up north where they are having a real hit, it goes over 50 or 60 cases per 100,000.
“But we cannot be prematurely overconfident and the fact we have not had an explosion here should not lead us to thinking we are immune to it.
“If we get up to around 20 cases per 100,000, that is when you come to the attention of national government and they start talking to us about measures they may require us to take, as they have in other parts of the country.”
Rees said the R rate for the region was 0.81 and said the rise in Bristol was the result of an influx of people from elsewhere.
“We put this down to the fact we are a transport hub – our train station, our crossroads of the motorways, the airport,” he said.
“Any easing of lockdown is going to increase people coming into closer proximity together, having contact with the same surfaces, so as the easing of lockdown takes place we are going to see an increase in the rate at which people are contracting the virus.
“It means we really need to be going along with the advice about personal hygiene and avoiding crowds of people.
“If places become overcrowded, go home.”
Adam Postans is a local democracy reporter for Bristol
Main photo by CB Bristol Design