A woman was forced to sit down for more than a minute and three other people developed "a bit of a cough" in what is being described as the worst CONTRIK-69 “spike” since the last one. Dorset Health Authorities today confirmed that this is the six major upturn in incidents since lockdown conditions were eased almost a month ago and people were allowed to “potter in their own gardens” provided they wore all over body suits and remained at least 18 feet from any vegetable matter.
The RDC was quick to reinstate roadblocks around three major centres where the spikes occurred [Bishops Caundle, Piddletrenthide and Gussage St Andrew] issuing warnings to the public that anyone seeking access without due cause, written permission and the necessary bio passports would be arrested, tranquilized, quarantined, fined and possibly deported to Cornwall.
Speaking at a hastily assembled press conference inside a securely sanitised hypoallergenic plastic bubble, Dorset’s Chief Medical Officer Letts Orl-Panic said the situation was critical and perilously close to an unspecified tipping-point. “Put it this way”, he said “this could go either way - either more people will feel the need to sit down for a short while or they won’t. Only time will tell but until such time as we have a better understanding of the science of sitting down unexpectedly - and more pop-up benches - we think it wise to act cautiously and with proper attention to the facts such as they are”.
Plans to allow for a limited number of socially-distanced "fans" to attend a live concert by the beleaguered Thrupiece Philharmonic Orchestra were also put on hold. Organisers expressed some surprise, however, since the typically uncompromising programme organised by recently re-instated Maestra Ms Irena Legova had attracted few sales. “Put it this way” TPO spokesperson M T Hall said “we could have appeared at the Dewlish Interfaith Centre (normal capacity 12 cross-legged) and still kept everyone who wanted to attend 4 metres apart”.
But the powers that be are taking no risks. "This is a very serious pandemic", Dorset’s Acting Deputy Assistant CMO Morris Minor-Aylements said. “More than 18 people have fallen ill since it all kicked off and we believe at least one of those spent time in bed. There’s a woman lives near me who had to leave work early one day and didn’t go back until the following morning - think of the impact of that on her personal well-being not to mention the wider economy. People pour scorn on our warnings accusing us of over-reacting but believe me coughing for up to 6 times in a single day is no picnic. Try it and see if you like it - especially in a space suit”.
In the meantime the Authorities have reminded the public to stay vigilant, repeating their now familiar mantra: KEEP QUIET : OBEY ORDERS : INFORM ON YOUR NEIGHBOURS