Covid-19: Don’t come here, UK rural areas tell Londoners
Rural areas in various European countries have seen a flood of people from capitals and major cities, intending to stay there while the virus challenge is overcome or blows over.Updated: Mar 21, 2020 00:27 IST
Residents in the growing coronavirus hotspots of London who are leaving or considering leaving for picturesque rural areas in the UK to avoid being infected have been asked not to come, in appeals similar to those to Parisians recently leaving for rural France.
Rural areas in various European countries have seen a flood of people from capitals and major cities, intending to stay there while the virus challenge is overcome or blows over. This has generated some resentment in the rural areas in France, UK and elsewhere.
Several London boroughs have reported large number of cases and deaths. Latest figures show 144 people have died in the UK, besides 3,269 cases as of Thursday morning. Rural areas have reported less number of cases across the country.
Devon and Cornwall in south-west England are among popular rural destinations that attract a large number of domestic tourists. But their increasing numbers of London and other city-dwellers in recent days has prompted concerns over the impact on local services.
Julian German, leader of Cornwall council, and Cornish MP Steve Double asked people not to travel to the south-west of England, as local leaders fear an influx of people from London and other cities.
In an open letter, German and Double said: “It is important that everyone follows the advice laid out by the government to slow and stop the spread of this virus and do everything we can to support our essential public services, especially our NHS”.
“That includes avoiding non-essential travel. By anyone’s assessment a holiday at this time is not essential. So therefore, regrettably we are asking people not to come on holiday to Cornwall at this time”.
“We need to stop the spread of this virus and also need to protect our NHS and keep our supermarket shelves stocked. An influx of thousands of tourists in the coming weeks will put unnecessary pressure on our services”.
A statement from tourism body Visit Cornwall added: “We urge anyone considering travelling to Cornwall in the coming days and weeks to think carefully about the implications of being removed from your normal social network during the coronavirus period, the risk of not being able to travel back home as planned, to be aware that supermarkets are experiencing the same pressures here as elsewhere, and consider the added pressure on public services in a rural area which this travel may cause”.