FEARS over the spread of coronavirus have started to take an effect on day-to-day life in the Lyme Regis area.
Several events and meetings – many expected to attract mostly older residents – have been postponed due to fears over coronavirus.
These include upcoming events organised by the Friends of Lyme Regis Museum, Lyme Regis Bowling Club, Char Valley Parish Council, The Word Forest Organisation, Lyme Bay Ladies and the Lyme Regis branch of Cancer Research UK.
The newly-launched Lyme Bay Radio station has taken the decision to cease all studio activity as a precaution. It is hoped that volunteer presenters will be able to deliver their shows remotely in the coming days.
The local football programme has also been affected, with the Perry Street League cancelling all games this weekend, meaning Lyme Rovers are not playing.
East Devon District Council briefly closed its offices due a potential case of COVID-19 among its employees.
The Blackdown House offices in Honiton were closed early last Friday and all staff were sent home. The decision was made after an employee returned from a high-risk country and started showing potential symptoms of the virus.
The offices were given a deep clean over the weekend and re-opened early this week.
The virus was also mentioned for the first time at a Lyme Regis Town Council meeting this week. It was said that the outbreak may have affected numbers responding to the council’s social media marketing campaign, which is aimed at attracting tourists to the town.
Support in the community
The outbreak has sparked many offers of help for elderly and vulnerable members of the local community.
In Charmouth, staff at the Royal Oak have said they will deliver hot meals to the doors of those in need (call 01297 560277).
Several Lyme Regis residents have taken to Facebook to offer help for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who currently do not want to leave their home.
A new Facebook group has been set up to share resources and co-ordinate help at www.facebook.com/groups/557727521517025/
Others have encouraged residents to support local food banks during this difficult time. LymeForward runs a food bank at The Hub in Lyme Regis, open every Wednesday, and further details can be found at www.lymeforward.com/foodbank
Latest figures and advice
The World Health Organization is now classing the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic. According to latest figures (March 11), there are now 118,326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world and 4,292 deaths have been recorded.
In the UK, more than 29,000 people have been tested for the virus, with 590 testing positive and 10 dying from the illness. There are 44 confirmed cases in the South West, including three in Dorset.
The government has now moved to the ‘delay’ stage of its fight against the virus, advising anyone with a fever or persistent cough to self isolate for seven days. Older people and those with underlying health issues are also advised to limit social contact.
Those returning to the UK from high risk areas are asked to self-isolate whether they are showing symptoms or not.
The government and NHS advises that the best way to stop the spread of the virus is to regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds at a time, catch sneezes and coughs preferably in tissues that can be disposed of immediately, and avoid contact with those who are obviously unwell.
Those developing potential symptoms of coronavirus – including a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath – should not go to a doctor’s surgery or hospital. Instead, call NHS 111 and follow advice.
For more information visit www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response