Portsmouth hailed one of UK's 'safest cities' for coronavirus infection rates despite 'tiny' rise in cases

PORTSMOUTH has been declared as one of the ‘safest places in the country’ for its low coronavirus infection rates by a civic chief, despite a slight increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19 this week.

By Tom Cotterill
Friday, 10th July 2020, 11:28 am
Updated Friday, 10th July 2020, 12:38 pm

In the past seven days, three new cases of coronavirus have been reported, up from just one the week before.

The jump has been shrugged off by Portsmouth City Council’s leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who said the ‘slight increase’ was ‘still tiny’.

Insisting the city remained a beacon on how to contain the spread of the virus, Councillor Vernon-Jackson added: ‘We have had very, very low infection rates. Our infection rates have been just around half of Southampton’s.

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Portsmouth's Covid-19 testing centre at the Tipner West lorry park, off the M275 (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

‘People have worked incredibly hard across the city, in a really built-up environment, to keep infection rates low.

‘We’re 140th out of 150 top-tier councils for infection rate. So we’re one of the very, very safest places in the country.

‘And that’s down to people’s hard work about keeping distance from each other, staying at home and being safe.’

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Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Latest figures released to The News today show the city’s overall infection rate per 100,000 people, across all settings over the past week, is 1.4.

The level is lower than neighbouring city, Southampton, which stood at 4.7 and the Isle of Wight’s rate of 2.1. Hampshire’s overall rate is 1.0.

Overall, the south-east region’s average infection level is 4.8, while in the east midlands, where Leicester was locked down for a second time, is 15.4 per 100,000 people.

There have also been no new recorded deaths in Portsmouth since ‘early June’, Cllr Vernon-Jackson added.

The data comes as lockdown measures continue to be eased.

Pubs were given the go-ahead to open up to punters earlier this month, with the government announcing indoor pools, gyms and beauticians could resume operations from July 25.

Despite the relaxation of lockdown measures, Cllr Vernon-Jackson has urged caution.

‘This virus is not going away, there is no cure, there is no vaccine,’ he said.

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