Tier 4 'right thing' to do - but will have 'significant impact'

Colchester Borough Council leader Mark Cory

Colchester Borough Council leader Mark Cory released a joint statement with other group leaders saying the move to Tier 4 was necessary - Credit: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Moving to Tier 4 will have "significant impact" on people in Essex - but community leaders say: "There is no doubt in our minds that we are all being asked to do the right thing."

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said it was "absolutely vital" to take swift action as case numbers escalate due to a new, mutated form of the virus.

Even though most of Essex has already been moved to Tier 4, Tendring, Colchester and Uttlesford remained in Tier 2 at the last government review while cases rates were still low.

However, the situation has changed rapidly, with current data showing rates in Colchester are currently at 257.3 per 100,000, Tendring at 227.8 and Uttlesford at 314.3.

Latest data also shows that 762 beds across Essex hospital trusts are currently occupied by confirmed Covid patients.

A joint statement from the leader of Colchester Borough Council, Mark Cory, and the group leaders of the Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and Highwoods Independent groups, said the announcement "comes as no surprise and is a difficult but necessary response to the worrying surge in the rates of Covid transmission seen in the borough over recent days".

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It added: "Colchester had done well to keep infection rates lower than other parts of the county and to avoid going into Tier 4 sooner, but the rapid jump in new cases – currently around 250 in 100,000 of the population and predicted to rise further – now speaks for itself.

"There is no doubt in our minds that we are all being asked to do the right thing to make sure those we care about the most and our most vulnerable residents are safe."

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David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “The earlier move to Tier 4 for these remaining areas of Essex only serves to highlight the severity of the situation we are currently in and while these latest restrictions will have a significant impact on residents and businesses in those areas, they are unfortunately necessary.

“We continue to work hard to stem rising infection rates across Essex, including increasing our testing capacity and improving our local track and test efforts. We also remain committed to supporting local communities and businesses affected by the restrictions, as well as protecting our local health services.

“However, we need the help of the people of Essex; for any of our work to be as effective as it can be, everyone must play their part.

“This is the time to act, to follow the guidance and not to give up."

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