AN OUTBREAK strategy has been published to control and plan for a local pandemic if one emerges in Windsor and Maidenhead.

The Royal Borough’s outbreak control plan – which sets out the necessary priorities and actions if an outburst of Covid-19 emerges locally – will be presented to councillors at a virtual health and wellbeing board meeting.

The report sets out how the council will work with its key stakeholders and, in the event of an outbreak, how will they respond to an upsurge of cases.

It states any actions taken will be ‘based on evidence’ where data on cases and risks will be closely monitored to spot an outbreak early – especially in areas deemed ‘high risk’, and communicate with residents and local businesses via social media to inform them as well as encourage social distancing and handwashing.

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Actions could involve alert messaging, contact tracing, closure of premises and playgrounds, enhanced monitoring of people isolating, deploying local testing capacity, and more.

Plans and actions will be different for a range of settings and population groups such as care homes, schools, BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) residents, tourism, homelessness, and places of worship.

Recently, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced local authorities across the country were to be given more power to close premises like pubs or shops in areas hit by coronavirus outbreaks in attempts to reduce the virus at a local level.

A monthly local outbreak engagement board – chaired by councillor Stuart Carroll (Conservative: Boyn Hill), lead member for health and social care – will be held to work with stakeholders such as the two Berkshire Health Protection Boards to control and prevent the spread locally as well as refining and adapting the plan as more information is gathered on Covid-19 and local outbreaks.

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More details will be presented at tomorrow’s (July 21) online meeting at 3pm.