Wed, 23 Sep 2020

LIVERPOOL, Britain, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Ice cream vans sound cheerful chimes as they trawl neighbourhoods to sell cones, ice lollies and other cool goodies in sun-baked Britain. But this summer, in Liverpool, an ice cream vendor has been recruited to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Paul Wilson drives his van around the inner-city Toxteth area of Liverpool almost every day. When kids are playing in the street or sitting in their homes, the chimes of Wilson's ice cream van will for sure send them hurrying to buy ice cream.

Wilson said he knows almost every one in this area. "I've watched many of the kids grow up round here, I'm on my third generation now."

Now as he hands them their cones, Wilson also hands them official leaflets to give to their moms and dads giving information on how to stay safe and where to get tested.

It started when health chiefs detected a sudden spike in the number of positive tests in the area around Toxteth's Princes Park district, home to the city's ethnic communities.

Local lockdown measures were introduced recently in this district by city health officials in a bid to control the sudden increase in coronavirus cases.

Community workers and volunteers were dispatched to the streets and shopping precincts to talk to local people and persuade them to head to quickly assembled test areas.

A City Hall spokeswoman said: "One of our teams were in the area and spotted the ice cream van. They thought it would be a good idea to ask the ice cream seller to distribute leaflets, and he immediately agreed."

Wilson said he was happy to help in the fight against the disease. "I'm happy to help keep the community safe. There has been a really good reaction to what I'm doing. It is helping the council and helping local people."

"This virus is going to be here for a long time. You can't fight what you can't see." he said.

The city's health board opened testing stations when the community was hit by a higher level of cases.

Community buildings have been advised to remain closed for 14 days, and all upcoming gatherings and events are also suspended for 14 days. Additional public health advice and guidance has been issued to cafes, bars, and restaurants in the area.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "I make no apology for our city being bold with measures so we can avoid situations like those that have developed in Greater Manchester and Leicester where there are more severe lockdowns."

"We are keeping a close eye on the situation so we can react fast and locally."

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