Suffolk Resilience Forum declares COVID-19 major incident in county

Published

The evolving COVID-19 situation has led to a major incident being declared in Suffolk.

Published 20 March 2020. 

Partners in the Suffolk Resilience Forum, including councils, health bodies and emergency services, have already been joining forces to respond to COVID-19, but the decision taken on Friday 20 March formalises joint-working and resource-sharing arrangements.

It means public organisations will work even closer than usual to tackle the challenges presented by COVID-19, including joint decision making, information-sharing and on the ground support for Suffolk residents.

Reports from each of Suffolk Resilience Forum agency were considered before it was decided that the current situation meets the agreed threshold for a major incident, including special arrangements now being implemented by one or more emergency responder agencies.

A major incident is called when the situation is believed to be beyond ‘business-as-usual’ operations and when there is the heightened risk of serious harm, damage, disruption or threat to human life or welfare.

Suffolk Police will now chair the Resilience Forum’s Strategic Coordination Group, taking over from Suffolk County Council’s public health team.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said:

“Public bodies have well-established close working arrangements that prepare us for this kind of situation. This decision simply formalises those arrangements and makes sure we’re making decisions together in a fully coordinated way.

“This is about making sure we use the resources and people available to us to tackle COVID-19 effectively. The best advice we can give people is to continue to follow all the official guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect vulnerable people and protect the NHS.”