Funding for Lincolnshire councils to combat coronavirus misinformation

Greater Lincolnshire councils will get nearly £900,000 of government money in a bid to tackle ‘COVID-19 lies’.

Some of the graffiti on a wall in Louth towards the end of last year.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is giving out more than £23 million to 60 councils across England including £494,800 to Boston Borough Council and £397,204 to North Lincolnshire Council.

It says the aim is to expand the support given to those most at risk and boost vaccine take-up.

It will include the creation of Community Champions tasked with spreading accurate health information to vulnerable areas such as older people, the disabled and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “It is vital that everyone has access to accurate and up to date information about COVID-19.

“False information about COVID-19 vaccines could cost lives.

“Today’s funding will help councils and community groups expand some of the excellent work already underway and reach out to their communities to ensure they have the information they need and get their questions answered.

“Ultimately this funding will help save lives.”

On Friday, Lincolnshire County Council’s director for public health Professor Derek Ward hit out at COVID-19 deniers.

He said a single week in December saw Lincolnshire deaths reach 13 times the yearly average.

The week including December 14 would usually see an average of 23 deaths.

However, in 2020, there had been 301 deaths, some 13 times the usual figures.

“Anybody who says COVID isn’t real, think about those numbers,” said Professor Ward.

“COVID is a killer, let’s make sure we stick with that hands, face, space message.”