ERA status means that local authorities will receive support to accelerate the vaccine roll-out for those aged 12-15Varsity

From yesterday (01/11), government resources are being provided and additional measures have been introduced in Cambridgeshire in an attempt to curb the rising number of Covid-19 infections.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are now an ‘Enhanced Response Area’ (ERA), after the government agreed to grant the status last week. Designed to help avoid a situation in which NHS hospitals face “unsustainable pressure”, the ERA status will apply for at least five weeks.

In practice, ERA status means that local authorities will receive support to accelerate the vaccine roll-out for those aged 12-15, increase the rates of vaccination in areas with the lowest intake, and accelerate booster vaccinations for eligible groups. It also means that meetings will be held with the Department for Education to discuss the possible introduction of additional measures to control infections in schools.

The granting of the ERA status comes after an application was made by Jyoti Atri, the Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Commenting on the decision to make the application, Atri said: “A rising rate of infections particularly in our older population meant I had to make this application now.”

She stressed that “this increase starting to build in our 60-plus age groups, coupled with low vaccination rates in some parts of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – means pressure is building on our local health services.”

Councillor Anna Smith, who has been elected to take over as leader of Cambridge city council this month, commented on the news, stating: “This reminds us that the pandemic is far from over, and that good ventilation, getting vaccinated and wearing face coverings are just as important as ever.”


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She encouraged “anyone who is eligible for a vaccine or booster but hasn’t yet had one to get their jab as soon as possible.”

From parliament, MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner, also endorsed the application for the change in status for Cambridge, stating: “I have expressed strong support for the calls from the Cambridgeshire director of public health for additional powers in recent weeks so I welcome this news.”

Zeichner also urged “everyone who is eligible to get their vaccines and booster jabs and to please wear a face mask when indoors in places like shops.”

In the week to October 24, 509.9 cases per 100,000 were recorded in Cambridgeshire, which is higher than the national average of 465.7. Central and West Cambridge recorded 217.9 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 25 October 2021.