Ipswich's Covid infection rate triples in a week ahead of 'Freedom Day'
- Credit: Danielle Booden
The Covid infection rate in Ipswich has almost tripled as community leaders urge for caution ahead of 'Freedom Day' next week.
Data released by Public Health England has revealed the Ipswich's seven-day infection rate is now the highest in Suffolk at 157 cases per 100,000 people up to July 9.
A total of 215 new cases saw the infection rate increase from 53.3 in the week up to July 2.
At the time, this was one of the lowest infection rates in England.
The PHE data revealed Babergh's infection rate was the second-highest in Suffolk at 144.5, while Mid Suffolk and West Suffolk both reported rates of 101.1.
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East Suffolk's was the lowest in the county at 96.2.
The rise in cases comes as a number of Ipswich pubs and restaurants announced closures due to staff members testing positive for Covid - including Wiff Waff, Isaacs, K Bar and Salthouse Harbour Hotel.
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Many venues across the town have been popular with football fans over the last month as England reached the Euro 2020 final.
Sarah Barber, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for the town centre, believes the rise in cases will not put people off visiting the town centre shopping area.
However, she urged visitors to be cautious as restrictions are set to be lifted on Monday.
Mrs Barber said: "I think we have to be very mindful but people need to think of their own risk factors.
"Covid is something we'll be living with - people need to be aware it's still with us.
"Even if restrictions are lifted, businesses will be doing all they can to keep people safe.
"I would urge people to come back if you feel comfortable, but be sensible and be considerate."
Tom Hunt, Ipswich MP, added: "We are in a dramatically different position to last time we had this many cases in as such as that we didn't have the vaccines.
"The Delta variant is on the increase. It's difficult to pin it on one thing, but the football was a source of great enjoyment and our pubs and bars did well out of it. I wouldn't want to blame it on them.
"At some point, we are going to have to get back to normal. If not now, when?"