A Reading council public health consultant has urged residents to follow the national restrictions or risk going into tier two of the Covid restrictions at the end of the second lockdown.

National lockdown 2.0 started on Thursday, November 5 and is currently scheduled to end on December 2.

David Munday, public health consultant at Reading Borough Council (RBC), said Reading has the opportunity to return to “the lowest possible rung” of restrictions “if we comply with national restrictions”.

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The consultant was speaking at the Reading Covid-19 Outbreak Engagement Board today (Friday, November 6), which is hosted by the council.

He said: “Moving into a second lockdown is not a position anyone would choose to be in.

“We have been seeing an increase in Reading over the last couple of months. We were looking at if tier one was right for Reading.

“Being in this second lockdown does give us an opportunity to arrest that increase.

“It gives us an opportunity to make sure we have more robust testing available and the opportunity for further development of vaccines.

“We would clearly want to remain in the lowest tier that we can but still maintain the control of Covid in Reading that we need to see.

“If we can comply with national restrictions it gives us the opportunity to exit at the lowest possible rung.”

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He said RBC will work closely with neighbouring councils in Wokingham and West Berkshire to ensure restrictions cover the whole urban area of Reading and there are no conflicting restrictions on the same street.

Mr Munday the increase in cases in Reading has primarily come from “general community transmission and household clustering” rather than outbreaks in particular settings.

The consultant also gave an update on the latest Covid case and death figures in Reading.

Latest case numbers

Reading Chronicle:

The latest case numbers in Reading show there is a rate of 140 cases per 100,000 people over the latest reported week (October 24-30).

This compares to an average of 226 in England and 113 in the South East.

Reading currently has a positivity rate of 6.5 per cent, which means around 13 in every 200 tests results in a positive case, compared to 9.5 per cent in England and 5.2 per cent in the South East.

Cases and case rates per ward

Reading Chronicle:

Responding to the data on case numbers and rates in  different Reading wards, councillor Graeme Hoskin, lead member for Health, Wellbeing and Sport at RBC, said: “A real concern is some of the more densely populated parts of the town and parts with shopping but also areas with higher BAME communities.”

Cases by gender, ethnicity and age

Reading Chronicle:

Cases have disproportionately affected people from BAME communities, with 30 per cent of cases from this group.

The age group primarily affected is 18 to 34, with 47 per cent of cases in Reading in this age group.

Men and women in Reading have been equally likely to test positive for Covid.

Latest on Covid deaths

Reading Chronicle:

Reading’s all cause mortality rate since March  is 28 per cent higher than the average in the previous five years.

There have been six deaths in the two weeks up to October 23 in Reading.

University cases

There was also a Covid update from the University of Reading (UoR).

Parveen Yaqoob, deputy vice chancellor at UoR, transmission among students has mostly been within households and through social activities.

She said there is not an identifiable risk from teaching with the measures the university has put in place and cases among staff members are low.

Meradin Peachey, director of public health for Berkshire West, added: “There is hardly any transmission related to pubs and restaurants in the town centre.”

Case numbers have gone down significantly this week, she added.