Posted on

Sunday Email: Issue 16

Good afternoon and welcome to the 16th issue of this regular Sunday email.

It has been an interesting week on the virus front, with more relaxation of restrictions and new advice about the diseases symptoms. Last Sunday, you may recall, I hinted at the possibility of the government possibly making it mandatory for us all to wear face coverings in enclosed public places, like shops and malls. Well, that’s now happened. The Prime Minister has announced that the wearing of a face covering in shops will be compulsory from next Friday, 24 July.

It might appear as if things have returned pretty much back to normal, but we shouldn’t forget that worldwide deaths have now passed the 600,000 mark. The medical advice is that we should continue to be on our guard and follow sensible precautions to stay safe by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask at appropriate times and continuing to wash our hands regularly. Hardly a big price to pay if we want to stay safe.

Detailed ‘Shopping’, ‘Take away food’ and ‘Places to Visit’ information lists are in a separate Word attachment (there have been some changes made to this week’s information).

As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think village residents might like to hear about.


07785 223707

Research identifies skin rashes as diagnostic signs of Covid-19 (

Data collected daily from the nearly four million people completing the King’s College London Covid Symptom Study shows that characteristic skin rashes and ‘Covid fingers and toes’ should be considered as key diagnostic signs of the disease, and can occur in the absence of any other symptoms. After noticing that a number of participants were reporting unusual skin rashes, the researchers focused on data from around 336,000 regular UK app users. They discovered that 8.8% of people reporting a positive swab test had experienced a skin rash as part of their symptoms, compared with 5.4% of people with a negative test result. Similar results were seen in a further 8.2% of users with a rash who did not have a test, but still reported classic Covid-19 symptoms, such as cough, fever or loss of smell.

To investigate further, the team set up a separate online survey, gathering images and information from nearly 12,000 people with skin rashes and suspected or confirmed Covid-19. The team particularly sought images from people of colour, who are currently under-represented in dermatology resources. 17% of respondents testing positive reported a rash as the first symptom of the disease. And for one in five people (21%) who reported a rash and were confirmed as being infected with the virus, the rash was their only symptom.

The rashes associated with Covid-19 fall into three categories:

  1. Hive-type rash: sudden appearance of raised bumps on the skin which come and go quite quickly over hours and are usually very itchy. It can involve any part of the body, and often starts with intense itching of the palms or soles, and can cause swelling of the lips and eyelids. These rashes can present quite early on in the infection, but can also last a long time afterwards.
  2. ‘Prickly heat’ or chickenpox-type rash: areas of small, itchy red bumps that can occur anywhere on the body, but particularly the elbows and knees as well as the back of the hands and feet. The rash can persist for days or weeks.
  3. Covid fingers and toes (chilblains): reddish and purplish bumps on the fingers or toes, which may be sore but not usually itchy. This type of rash is most specific to Covid-19, is more common in younger people with the disease, and tends to present later on.

Although Covid-19 is often thought of as a disease that affects the respiratory system, rashes had been reported in a number of cases of people in China and Europe who had been hospitalised with severe symptoms of the disease. However, this is the first and largest study to systematically gather data about skin rashes in milder cases in the wider population.

Showing the symptoms? Then book a test immediately

The symptoms of Coronavirus are high temperature, new continuous cough, loss or change to the sense of smell or taste…and now the skin rash mentioned above. Anyone who is showing these symptoms should book a swab test on the NHS website. People without internet, or who have difficulty online, can ring 119 to book their test. Do not wait – ask for the test as soon as you or someone you live with has symptoms. Book at the NHS website:–test

Types of tests

This is a summary of government guidance on the different types of testing available, including which types of test you should use and when, and what you should do when you receive a test result. Tests are used to find out whether someone has a current or past infection. There are two categories of tests: virus tests and antibody tests.

A virus test – is used to check if you currently have the virus. Different terms are often used interchangeably to refer to these virus tests, including being referred to as an antigen test. Having a virus test involves a swab

sample being taken. Once you have received your test result, you should follow the guidance on test results at People who do not have symptoms (‘asymptomatic’ people) are tested for the virus only in specific circumstances.

An antibody test – is used to tell if a person has previously been infected. It is not clear if being infected in the past means a person is immune and they cannot get infected again in the future. Scientists are working to understand how a person’s immune system responds to the virus, including if a person is immune after they’ve been infected with the virus and if so, for how long this might last.

The full updated testing guidance is at

Test and Trace

Last week a government spokesperson said that the UK has a world-beating test and trace system in place. Not everyone agreed with that analysis. One top medical adviser suggested that if our system was a world leader, then heaven help the rest of the world!

Generally, the information I can offer here is much the same as in previous weeks. NHS Test and Tracers could contact you at any time if they identify that you’ve recently been in ‘prolonged’ contact with an infected person. If they call you, you will be obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, whether sick or not. You won’t be tested and the rest of your household will not need to isolate. However, anyone who develops symptoms of the virus must isolate for seven days and the rest of their household for 14 days. Everyone with symptoms should call 119 or go online to arrange a test. If the test is negative, everyone in the household can go back to normal. But if positive, the person will receive a text, email or phone call to discuss where the person has been and with whom they have been in contact. If NHS Test and Trace calls you by telephone, the service will be using a single phone number 0300 0135 000. The only website the service will ask you to visit is

­Latest government advice

On Friday the government confirmed or announced a number of new guidelines and relaxations.

• The wearing of face masks in shops, supermarkets and malls will be mandatory from next Friday (24 July). There isn’t any guidance yet on how the rules will be applied, but those who ignore the rules could face a fine of £100 though it’s not clear who will actually police the situation.

• Sports facilities and venues, including indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks, will be able to open from Saturday 25 July.

• From 1 August, bowling alleys, skating rinks, casinos and all close contact services, such as beauticians, will be allowed to reopen. Live indoor theatre and concerts will be able to resume with socially distanced audiences.

• From October, the government intends to allow audiences to return to stadiums.

• The official advice for employees to work from home, which has been in place since the start of the lockdown in March, is going to be dropped. From 1 August, firms will be given more leeway over safety measures so they can get more workers back into factories and offices. However, the new advice stops short of ordering anyone to return to work. Instead, it sets out a roadmap of how staff can get back to workplaces over time.

• The government has intends to change the official guidance that tells people to avoid using public transport for all but essential travel. It had to do this if it wants people to return to their workplaces. Travelling during the morning rush hour is likely to still be advised against. The focus instead will be about travelling off-peak, hand washing and mask use, which is mandatory. We’ll still be advised to drive, walk and cycle instead during busy periods. This advice will obviously be more relevant to those living or working in the bigger towns and cities.

• Councils in England have been given new powers to close shops, cancel events and shut outdoor public spaces to manage local outbreaks. The PM said the move would enable councils to authorise ‘lightening lockdowns’ in response to local outbreaks "where speed is paramount". Ministers are also to receive additional powers to "close whole sectors or types of premises in an area" and advise people in specific postcodes to stay at home.

• The Prime Minister has committed to holding an independent inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic but there are no details on when it would begin.

Advice about face masks

Now that the wearing of face masks is becoming mandatory in more and more places (hospitals, public transport and now shops), there is a clamour for information about which face coverings are best, where they can be bought, how they can be made at home, which materials are most effective…and much more. Rather than print loads of detail in this email, I would recommend the Which? website as a site worth looking at. Here’s a link to it:

This is not a return to normal

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), this week told the BBC that a return to pre-lockdown normality was a long way off. "If what you mean by normality is what we were used to pre-March this year – go to work normally, travel on the buses and trains, go on holiday without restrictions, meet friends, shake hands, hug each other and so on – that’s a long way off, unfortunately," he said. "We won’t be able to do that until we are immune to the virus, which means until we have a vaccine that is proven safe and effective. If we return to those sorts of normal behaviours, the virus will come back very fast."

Village Hostelries

The three hostelries in our two villages are now back in business:

• The Swan is now open but for drinks only. Customers must book a table in advance. To book a table call 01845 595185.

• The Angel’s bars, restaurant, gardens and rooms reopened last Wednesday and is back operating the pub’s normal service hours. There’s a few things to note if you’re planning on popping in: please enter only through the side door in the car park and exit only through the front door; follow all social distancing measures put in place and use the sanitising stations throughout the venue. No advance booking required for bar and garden visits, where customers will be served on a ‘first come, first served basis’. Reservations for meals/rooms can be made between 10am and 5pm by calling 01845 578000 or emailing

• Crab Manor – the hotel, started taking guests the week before last and the Crab & Lobster restaurant opened to the public on Friday last, for lunch and dinner, but strictly by reservation. Call 01845 577286.

Bus Stop Library, Asenby

You can tell that things might be getting back to normal when people start asking for the bus stop to be returned to its original use. Bus users are asking to have more access to seating and that means cutting back the library space. This coincides with a reduction in use of the library, especially children’s books, games and magazines. So now Heather Allon, who has done a sterling job of organising the library throughout lockdown, is introducing a few changes and from now on only books will be accepted. Heather has asked me to thank everyone for their support with this project, it has been very successful.

Thirsk Information Centre

The information centre in the middle of Thirsk Market Place, is now opening initially just on market days (Saturday and Monday) 10am-noon and 12.30pm-2.30pm. It is the place to get walks and visitor attraction leaflets. There are Yorkshire and Thirsk souvenirs as well as maps, books, flags and postcards on sale. You can view the Market Place webcam at or find what you need to know on the website at

St Columbas Church

St Columbas will remain closed for the time being. Discussions are taking place to see how and when the church can reopen safely and an announcement will be made in due course.

Bags 2 School – date set for next recycling event

Don’t forget that the next ‘Bags 2 School’ recycling event will be on Monday 21 September. So please start cleaning out your wardrobes and drawers. As last time, the event will be held at Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall and the proceeds will be shared between the Village Hall and Topcliffe Scout groups. There’ll be more detailed information in emails nearer the day. As a reminder, we would welcome any of the following items: – Men’s, Ladies’ and Children’s clothing – paired shoes (tied together or elastic band around) – handbags – hats – bags – scarves and ties – jewellery – lingerie – socks – belts – soft toys – household linen – household curtains – household towels – household bedding (bed sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers). Please note that we are unable to accept duvets and blankets, pillows and cushions, carpets, rugs and mats (including bath, shower and toilet mats), soiled, painted, ripped or wet clothing, school uniforms with and without logo, corporate clothing and workwear or textile off cuts, yarns or threaded material.

Social Media for Beginners

There is a free, two hour online course – Social Media for Beginners – being organised at 1pm on Tuesday 28 July by the Adult Learning and Skills Service. You can learn about different social networks, how to connect with people and share pictures, videos and messages online and how to stay safe when using social media. Delivery will be over Zoom, giving learners the opportunity to ask the tutor questions and speak to others across the county. If you know anyone who could benefit from an introduction to social media please tell them about this free course. To book a place visit or call 01609 532536.

Easingwold Maize Maze

This popular seasonal venue opened again last Saturday. It’s operating under social distancing rules. The 16 acre site features the famously confusing Maize Maze along with football golf, sandpits and games area including badminton, football and netball. There is an animal enclosure to enjoy while the site also features a fenced off dog exercise area. An ice cream van selling the award winning Brymor ice cream is also on site. Visitors are encouraged to take a picnic, which can be eaten under cover or outdoors. All admissions are £5, free for children aged 2 and under. The attractions are open every day from 10am to 4pm until Sunday 6 September.

Carlton Lodge Activity Centre

The centre, operated by North Yorkshire Youth from Carlton Lodge Activity Centre at Carlton Miniott, has announced its Safe Summer Holiday Activity Days, which could be a boon to families during the forthcoming school

summer holiday break. Managers report that they have prepared a Covid-safe plan for reopening and the new service provides a safe activity programme for children aged between 8 and 14 years. Places are available in two groups of five children plus an instructor. Two families of five can also be accommodated. Each day includes four outdoor activities including archery, challenge course, bush craft and tree climbing. The times are 9am to 4.30pm each day and the cost is £40 per person per day. The new arrangements begin next Wednesday, 22 July and continue on Friday 24, Monday 27, Wednesday 29 and Friday 31 July. More details and booking available at

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse –Mondays 20 July and 3 August.

• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays 30 July and 13 August

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Mondays 20 July and 3 August.

• Refuse – Mondays 27 July and 10 August.

• Garden waste – Thursday 30 July and 13 August.


• ‘Top Residents’ and ‘Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall’ Facebook sites have lots of useful information and chat about what’s going on during lockdown. Asenby’s community Facebook page ‘Asenby Institute Community

Space’ is keeping villagers well informed and in touch with each other.

• Our two Parish Councils are not meeting during the crisis. However, our Parish Councillors and Parish Clerks remain available to deal with any urgent matters. Details are on the two parish council websites – and

• Asenby Bus Shelter Library – a ‘community hub’ with library and games exchange. Organiser, Heather Allon, also runs a magazine and book loan scheme in the village for the housebound or those in lockdown. Telephone her on 01845 595080.

• Asenby Playing Field – Although the playing field itself continues to be open for exercise purposes, the Parish Council has decided that the playground section (swings, slide, roundabouts etc.) will continue to be closed until further notice.

• Sowerby Waste & Recycling Centre – the site is now back to operation at its normal hours and days – 8:30am to 5pm six days a week. Closed on Wednesdays.

That’s all until next Sunday. Stay alert, keep safe and keep well.