Keeping cases down in Scotland’s former Covid capital

Vigilance has been urged as hard-hit Inverclyde bucks the trend in recent coronavirus cases.

Once dubbed Scotland’s coronavirus capital, Inverclyde has got cases under control – but experts are urging vigilance to make sure it stays that way.

Restrictions are in place to curb the spread of Covid in a number of west of Scotland council areas – but just three cases were recorded in Inverclyde between September 6 – 13.

Over the same period, there were 115 cases in North Lanarkshire and 251 in Glasgow, but despite being Scotland’s hardest-hit region earlier in the pandemic, Inverclyde is now bucking the trend.

And that’s they way they want it to stay, with business exceeding expectations in a bid to keep staff and customers safe.

Kip Marina, for instance, uses security and camera systems for track and trace, while masks were mandatory while moving around the restaurant long before becoming a government rule.

“We felt it was vital not just to comply with the regulations, but go beyond them,” said the restaurant’s Kevin Blamire.

During the peak of the pandemic, charities and community organisations scrambled to support neighbours.

“I don’t think anyone was totally untouched,” said Laura Reilly, manager of the Belville Community Garden Trust in Greenock,

“We were worried about what the future was going to hold, but as a reaction to the community really pulled together. People who hadn’t volunteered before offered their services to help.”

There is no single clear reason why Inverclyde is experiencing such low rates, but health chiefs want people to keep following the rules.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Inverclyde is experiencing a lower infection rate than the other local authority areas in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“This is encouraging, but we remain concerned about the higher rates elsewhere in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and it is still vital in Inverclyde that everyone remains vigilant and follows the rules on numbers of people gathering, washing hands and social distancing.”

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