Devon and Cornwall facing surge of Covid cases as holidaymakers flock to beach spots

DEVON and Cornwall have seen another surge in Covid cases as holidaymakers flock to beach spots.

The summer break favourites have seen an uptick in infections since the start of the beginning of the month.

Cases had risen in the two regions since mid-July as Brits rushed to soak up some sun on the coast.

They fell slightly towards the end of July, but have remained high, and rocketed up again throughout this month.

Infection rates for 7-day periods in Devon were at 55.2 per 100,000 people at the beginning of July, with the figure at 247.6 on August 12.

In the latest data up to August 17, Devon and Cornwall have got five hotspots included in the list of top 30 local authorities in England seeing rising cases.

These are Torbay, Exeter, North Devon, Plymouth and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

More than 1,000 people per 100,000 had caught the bug in rural parts of Cornwall last week.

This is higher than levels in large cities which have usually been the spots where large case numbers have broken out.

Health chiefs in the area warned that holidaymakers heading to the West are causing infections to rocket.

They have blamed younger travellers, who are likely to have just had one vaccine, or none at all.

Ruth Goldstein, Cornwall Council's deputy director of public health, told the BBC last week it was due to "holiday hot-spots that attract a lot of young people".

She said: "It's what we expect because we know that the younger people have only had one, and in some case no, vaccine; so, unfortunately, it's easier to transmit."

And Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline he also thinks the high numbers are due to people going on holiday.

Initially there was speculation back in June the G7 summit caused a spike in cases.

But he said: "There is a general trend in the UK that those local authorities that have had most infections to date over the whole epidemic are not seeing as big percentage increases week on week and are more likely to be seeing falling case numbers.

"So is the epidemic in Cornwall because of low population immunity because of low past infection rates with the trigger being G7 or is it due to holiday makers? It is probably a bit of both."

Newquay West has seen an increase in cases, with 1,067 people per 100,000 testing positive up to August 11.

And popular beach spots saw a noticeable rise throughout August – places such as Newquay East (1,033), Falmouth East (971) and Penryn (887).

At the beginning of August the South West had the largest R rate, as cases rose.

Locals were left fuming by tourists in popular towns such as St Ives and Penzance, with few people wearing face masks or staying 1m away from each other.

According to the BBC, Visit Cornwall has estimated that there are up to 210,000 Brits holidaying in the area – up from the usual 180,000.

Visit Cornwall boss Malcom Bell said: "Visitors are not getting a good experience, locals are frustrated and systems can't cope".

One local in St Ives said: “They’re in holiday mode, bumping around all over the place.

"They think there’s no coronavirus in Cornwall. Locals are split between those who are delighted that the economy is booming and others who are putting up signs that say: ‘F*** off, tourists."

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