Coronavirus: Oldham residents react to new Covid-19 measures

  • Published
People in masks in Oldham
Image caption,
People in Oldham have been coming to terms with increased Covid-19 measures

Oldham's residents have reacted to new restrictions introduced in attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The town has implemented extra measures after a "rapid increase" in positive cases was reported over the last week.

Health bosses said the easing of lockdown measures has had an impact on case numbers.

One resident said while they felt "frustrated... now is the time to work together".

Katrina Stephens, director of public health, said the national easing of restrictions had led to an "inevitable" rise in positive tests, but access and proximity to testing sites may have meant a larger rise in recorded cases in some areas.

'Punished for other's actions'

Catherine Burke, 37, a Royal Mail employee who is currently shielding, said the new measures were "frustrating".

Image source, Catherine Burke
Image caption,
Catherine Burke is 27-weeks pregnant and has been shielding since the first lockdown began

"I am a diabetic who is 27 weeks pregnant with other health implications, so I'm unable to go to work, visit family, friends, and shops.

"The 1 August was a day, I, and many other people shielding, have been looking forward to.

"Now, again, we are punished for others' actions.

"We need to work together to protect our people and our local businesses."

Petula Chidlow, 60, who has an autoimmune illness, is also shielding.

She said she was "annoyed to be in one of the three places to have the measures brought in, but not surprised".

"I think Oldham will go into lockdown again - just go into the shops and you will see many people not wearing masks.

"There is just no-one to police the current measures."

'Wake-up call' for town

Image source, Afruz Miah
Image caption,
Afruz Miah said with Eid celebrations coming up, the measures will be "extremely difficult" for Oldham

Founder of charity Just Breathe, Afruz Miah, 47, said it had been a "wake-up call" for the town.

"Oldham has too many disadvantaged areas and needs some investment from the government.

"Now that we know good health and fitness are important to stop the virus becoming deadly, we need to rise to the challenge and look after ourselves better.

"What I see around me is a tight-knit, charitable community and we have lots of positive role models.

"With Eid coming up, it will be extremely difficult... but we believe 'after difficulty comes ease', so it's important that we look after our mental health.

"Patience at these testing times is extremely important."

Oldham follows Rochdale, its neighbouring Greater Manchester borough, Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle, in Lancashire, in introducing new restrictions.

Councillor Arooj Shah said Oldham had seen a rise in infections among communities of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage.

She said the new guidance was "particularly tough" for Muslims who were preparing for Eid al-Adha on Friday, though the council had no concerns "about people not adhering to guidelines around Eid".

'Must protect the community'

Image source, Syra Khan
Image caption,
Syra Khan said Oldham residents are a "considerate community" and "this is about working together"

Syra Khan, 23, a profit and loss analyst, said she was "disappointed", but believed the measures were the right thing to stop things "getting any worse".

"Last Eid was during lockdown and most people didn't visit each other.

"With many households having generations living together, I think people will take into consideration not wanting to affect the high-risk groups.

"Everyone will be okay sacrificing seeing family and friends.

"Although it is going to be difficult at a time where we thought we were relaxing things a bit more, I do feel it is necessary... to protect the community.

"I think that if the council sets the right tone, people will follow as the residents of Oldham are a considerate community."

Why not follow BBC North West on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? You can also send story ideas to