'Sticking to the rules' - People praised for keeping covid rates down

Fakenham's Market Place, and some of the symbols set in stone there PICTURE: Ian Burt

Fakenham's Market Place. - Credit: IAN BURT

People in Fakenham have been praised for the efforts following a dramatic fall in town's Covid-19 rate.

In the seven days to January 6, 63 cases were recorded in Fakenham. By February 3, cases fell to four.
Cases rose to seven the following week, but since then there were fewer than three cases in Fakenham until the seven days to March 3 where four cases were recorded.

The new chef at The Crown at Fakenham, Seb Harris, front, with, from left, junior sous chef, Kaiya K

Landlord for The Crown, Alie Hannam (centre-right) - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Alie Hannam, landlord at The Crown pub and restaurant in Market Place, said the low rates come from people following the guidelines closely.

“I had to go to Norfolk & Norwich Hospital for a procedure and on the way back we drove through Dereham, it was like any other day,” she said.

“Lots of people walking about, standing chatting in the market place, we were really shocked and commented that it didn’t look like we were in lockdown.

“Fakenham hasn't had as many people on the streets. People have been sticking to the rules.

“You’ll see two people out for a walk and they are actually socially distancing.”

Vaccinations have been taken up well across the town More than 90pc of all people over 65 have received their first dose, with the surgery winning praise for its work.

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Chief executive officer of Fakenham Medical Practice, Sarah Buchan, said: “We have made good progress in vaccinating local people against Covid-19 and would like to thank our hard-working staff and volunteers who have helped to make this possible.

“There is still a long way to go in this unprecedented effort and we continue to work through our patient list and book people for appointments in line with national guidance.

“Once vaccinated, we would urge people not to be complacent and to continue following the guidelines.”

the doctor surgery in Fakenham

The Fakenham medical practice. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Fay Dewing's shop has been closed but has been working on renovations for when the town reopens.

She has been at Sew Sweets on the Market Place most days this year and has watched the town throughout the third lockdown.

Mrs Dewing said she has seen fewer people in the town centre.

“There aren’t many people about, you don’t see many people and when you do they are normally on their own,” she said.

Owner of Sew Sweets, Fay Dewing, said it has been “nice to catch up with regulars” since reopening.

Owner of Sew Sweets, Fay Dewing, said it has been “nice to catch up with regulars” since reopening. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

“I think people are doing what they are supposed to do.

“A few more people are sitting on benches and having a coffee now they can, but they tend to keep their distance.

“I think people are doing what they are meant to do as they want to get back to some sort of normality.

“We just have our fingers crossed that we can open up on April 12, and when we do everyone does not think it's all over and we stick to it as we need to do.

“If we do this, the rate doesn’t go up. We don’t need that again.”

Norfolk county councillor for Fakenham, Tom FitzPatrick, was also full of praise for residents.

councillor in front of Benbows in Fakenham

Norfolk county councillor, Tom FitzPatrick at Fakenham's Market Place. - Credit: Tom FitzPatrick

“As we see things slowly returning to normal, I would just like to say a huge collective ‘well done’ to all people of Fakenham and the surrounding area,” he said.

“Using hand sanitiser, wearing facemasks and keeping our distance are not things that come naturally to us, but local people followed the health advice and kept themselves and others safe.

“It has been great that people have done so much to help others and follow the health advice over the past months.

“We are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but this is also the stage where it is even more vitally important that we continue to keep our guard up. 

"Remember: 'hands, face, space'.”