Covid-19. We read today that 4,274,579 people have tested positive so far in the whole of the UK. Yet only 1599 people have tested positive in South Hams, Devon. Why?

In early January 2021, the British government made an announcement to every citizen in the country.

The announcement stated:

“From Monday 4 January, the whole of England is now in National Lockdown.

“You must stay at home.

“This is the single most important action we can all take to protect the NHS and save lives. You must not leave your home unless necessary.”

The British government provides weekly figures of positive tests for Covid-19. The government provides detailed information for the British Isles and the four countries within the United Kingdom.

The government has made information available on regions of the country and countries, cities, towns and rural communities.

International Figures of People tested positive for Codid-19 and number of deaths

According to Worldometer, the UK has the seventh highest number of Covid-19 deaths per million people among 221 nations. UK deaths amount to 1847 deaths per million.

There is the urgent need for a Public Inquiry into this number of deaths in one of the world’s richest nations.

The British Government refuses to allow a Public Inquiry despite repeated requests from prominent voices in science and health.


Only Belgium, Czechia, Gibraltar, San Marino Slovenia, and have a higher death rate per million than the UK.

South Hams and England

A Public Inquiry needs to include finding out why certain regions have an extremely low Covid-19 infection rate and deaths.

The Government’s own figures show the South-West region has the lowest Covid-10 infection rate in England.

If the South-West was an independent country, we would have one of the lowest Covid-19 infection rates in the world, despite being on the border of one of the world’s highest infection rates.


Why can’t residents in Devon and Cornwall travel freely in the two counties since infection rate is incredibly low compared to the rest of the UK.

Covid-19 Figures in South Hams

I live in Totnes, Devon, England. Totnes (population 8400) is the largest town in the district of South Hams, population 83,000 people.

There are 11 districts in the South-West including South Hams.

Alongside two nearby districts of West Devon and Torridge, our district has the lowest rate of Covid-19 infections in the 11 districts.

Perhaps South Hams District Council could conduct a survey in this area on to find out why South Hams has such a low infectin rate. SHDC could then offer the research to advise the government on necessary steps to reduce infection rates and the sickness and suffering associated.

We have the privilege of living in the South West, the safest region in England. We also live in one of the three safest districts in the South-West.

There were five cases of Covid-19 in South Hams between 6-12 March 2021 and no deaths. No ventilators were needed.  Only one person was admitted into hospital.

If we take the government figures as accurate, why are so few people suffering or dying from Covid-19 in this region?


In comparison with rest of the UK

Number of people tested positive in the UK since the start of the Pandemic numbers:

4,274,579 people.

Number of people tested positive in South Hams in the same period is:

1599 people.

Number of deaths in England since the start of the pandemic:

111,000 people (125,00 in the UK).

Number of deaths in South Hams since the start of pandemic

50 people.

There have been no deaths from Covid-19 in South Hams between 3rd and 17th March 2021.


We are not living in a Bubble

You might think the number of infected people and deaths in South Hams would be high.

Devon is often regarded as the most popular region or in the top five to visit in England.

People travel from every part of the country, especially between April and October to stay here for a weekend, a week, 14 days or longer. The countryside from Dartmoor to the longest unbroken coastlines takes the breath with its natural beauty.

You might think the number of people who test positive would be high due to arrival of one to two million visitors in Spring and Summer. Some visitors, unwittingly, bring Covid-19 with them.

South Devon with mild winters and lovely summers (yes, it rains) attracts many elderly people, who move to the district to retire.

Devon is regarded as one of the most popular places for retired people.

You might think deaths would be high due to an elderly population and many retirement homes.

Yet, only around four or five people on an average day got infected in the past year in South Hams out of our 83,000 residents.

Around one person per week on average has Covid-19 on their death certificate in the past year.


I have lived in Totnes for about 40 years. I raise the question.

The country deserves a Public Inquiry into a region of remarkably low numbers as well as policy decisions that have led to catastrophic Covid-19 figures.

A simplistic response might claim our low infection rate is due to low population density. That view might apply in other low density populations elsewhere in England. We have a huge number of visitors coming to spend their holidays in beautiful Devon every year. The holiday towns are packed with visitors. I have lived 40 years in Totnes. I never saw so many tourists on Totnes high street as last summer probably due to cancellation of holidays on the continent. Some of 2020 visitors will remember the ease of travel here through car, coach or train. All are welcome.

The Government can learn a lot from this part of England to help the rest of the country.

We either learn from history or repeat it.

I am not sure whether the English government has ears to listen.

1 thought on “Covid-19. We read today that 4,274,579 people have tested positive so far in the whole of the UK. Yet only 1599 people have tested positive in South Hams, Devon. Why?”

  1. Whilst it’s true that infection rates have been lower here than in many places, the figure of 1600 positive tests is deceptive.
    Friends who have been having symptoms, have talked of the difficulty for anybody feeling ill in this area, to get a test.
    For most of the pandemic, for Totnes residents at any rate, the testing centre has been on the outskirts of Exeter. This has been practically difficult and morally impossible for anybody with symptoms needing to use public transport.
    Even for somebody with a car it’s a 40 minute drive both ways – I wouldn’t fancy doing that with a fever and a headache?
    And for some there have been kids at home too, who can’t be left.

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