Doctor fears Essex is heading for Tier 3 restrictions, warning January looks 'very grim'

There are fears Essex will go into Tier three restrictions Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

There are fears Essex will go into Tier 3 restrictions - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A leading doctor at Broomfield Hospital specialising in respiratory infections has indicated Essex is heading for Tier 3 restrictions – warning that January looks “very grim”.

In a sober message on Facebook Dr Steve Jenkins, a respiratory consultant at Broomfield Hospital, warned that he could not be certain the NHS will be able to provide comprehensive emergency care as we head in into deep winter.

“I cannot be certain that the NHS will be able to provide comprehensive emergency care as we go into deep winter. At the moment things are very bad, much tougher than Wave 1 due to overlaid winter pressures. Relaxation over Christmas will make it a lot worse. January looks very grim.”

He added that it looks like Essex is heading for Tier 3 restrictions –meaning pubs and restaurants can open until 6pm, but alcohol cannot be served, leisure and entertainment venues are closed, non-essential travel in or out of the area is not allowed and gyms are restricted to individuals and not groups.

“Urgent. It looks like Essex is heading for Tier 3 restrictions. The Covid rates per 100,000 are alarming,” Dr Jenkins added listing the Covid rates per 100,000, headed by Basildon at 504, followed by Havering at 429, Brentwood at 346.

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His statistics has Chelmsford at 180, Maldon at 166, Uttlesford at 99 and Colchester on 91 per 100,000.

He has also called on people to keep Christmas “very low key” adding he is not planning on seeing anyone outside his immediate household.

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“We have some great news on vaccines,” he added.

“Meantime my advice is keep Christmas very low key. I am not planning on seeing anyone outside my household. My mum who is 86 would rather see a vaccine needle than me right now.”

ECC says it is working with MPs and lobbying the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, demonstrating that a move to Tier 3 is unnecessary and would be devastating for our businesses, particularly in hospitality, where Christmas and New Year trading is crucial.

In a regional meeting with Public Health England, the Council was reassured that it was taking every step possible to try to stem the increase in cases currently being seen in parts of the county.

Leader of the Council, Cllr David Finch, said: “The County Council’s position is clear – Tier 2 remains the right place for Essex to be this Christmas.

“We are doing everything in our power, including the continued roll-out of testing, working with schools, businesses, and our health and voluntary sector partners, to stem the increases we are seeing. It is our absolute, top priority. We will continue to do everything in our power to reduce the infection rate in the south and across the whole county."

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