Oldham Council has enlisted the help of a cult 00s TV character in the urge to get local residents to follow government guidance and prevent a full “Leicester-style” lockdown in the coming days.
Councillors and government officials have issued last-call warnings to residents of Oldham stating that the borough may be facing full lockdown restrictions “within days” if people do not act now to prevent rising infection rates.
These warnings come after confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have almost doubled in Oldham over the past week.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Oldham Council, the latest figures – released yesterday for the week ending August 8 – show that there have been 255 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oldham, which is a rate of 107.5 cases per 100,000 people.
The week prior to this there were 137 cases, which is a rate of 57.8 per 100,000.
Katrina Stephens – Director of Public Health for Oldham Council – said officials were discussing with central government the possibility of closing bars, restaurants and gyms in the borough following a “sudden increase” in the infection rate.
Councillor Arooj Shah – Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for COVID-19 recovery – added that “there is no time to lose” and “we need everyone to act now and make changes to the way they live, to prevent strict lockdown restrictions being implemented in the coming days or weeks”.
So, what better way to get this vital message across then? Get Jay from The Inbetweeners to film a video message addressing the residents of Oldham and telling them to “stay safe”, of course.
We understand that might sound like we’re kidding, but we promise we’re not.
The short video message – which Oldham Council is believed to have paid £34 for on the celebrity personalised video-messaging platform Cameo – sees actor James Buckley, who is most famous for his role in the hit E4 sitcom The Inbetweeners, remind Oldham residents of the local coronavirus guidelines.
He acknowledges that “it is tricky, it is complicated”, but asks residents to “stay safe” and “wait for this thing to blow over”.
After issuing the vital message and urging Oldham residents to follow the guidance, in the vein of his character Jay, he signs off the video by saying “maybe we can all head down the Caravan Club when the time is right”.
Whilst it’s easy to find humour and make light of the situation here, it is extremely important not to lose sight of the urgent message James Buckley is delivering on behalf of Oldham Council.
People in Oldham are now being reminded:
- Limit the number of people you have contact with and work from home where possible.
- Do not have visitors to your home or garden.
- If you must meet people from outside your household, you must do so in an outdoor location, maintaining social distancing and avoiding physical contact.
- When visiting shops and when on public transport or in other enclosed or crowded spaces, you should wear a mask.
- Avoid touching your face and wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
Stay safe Oldham.
For further information and guidance amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, do refer to official sources via gov.uk/coronavirus.