Essex leaders to ask government for tougher tier two lockdown restrictions

Essex County Council have called for tougher tier two Covid restrictions to combat the rise in infec

Essex County Council have called for tougher tier two Covid restrictions to combat the rise in infections (stock image). Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Essex County Council has announced its intention to write to the government requesting to be moved into tougher tier two Covid restrictions.

Leader of Essex County Council Cllr David Finch has called for the county to be placed under tier tw

Leader of Essex County Council Cllr David Finch has called for the county to be placed under tier two Covid restrictions. PIcture: PAUL STARR - Credit: Archant

The county is currently categorised under tier one restrictions as a ‘Medium’ risk area.

However, the authority has been advised by Essex’s director of public health and wellbeing Dr Mike Gogarty that tougher restrictions are key to slowing the infection rate.

The council is to write to Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock requesting the extra measures.

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David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “By acting now, we can hope to stem this increase, limiting the time that we are in these enhanced restrictions and - above all - avoiding further escalation into ‘Very High’.”

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The council say the county has seen a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, and rates in nearly all districts are now rising exponentially.

Tendring has the highest rate of infection in Essex at 80.5 cases per 100,000 people for the week to October 9. This is only fractionally higher than Norwich where the rate is 79 but the concern is that the figure on the Essex coast has risen from 23.1 per 100,000 the week previously.

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In Colchester, the rate is currently 49.3 cases per 100,000 people, up from 23.1 the previous week, while Braintree has a rate of 38, up from 28.8.

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In a statement, group leaders at Colchester Borough Council, said they support the plans.

The statement read: “It is a step that has not been taken lightly and comes after careful discussion with leaders and MPs across the county, in light of a concerning rise in the rates of Covid transmission across Essex.

“While recognising the impact this step could have on businesses and people’s freedoms, it is a move that we, in Colchester, reluctantly support because we want to keep our residents as safe as possible.

“We may not currently be at the levels seen in other parts of the country, but with the way the rates are escalating, it would only a matter of weeks before we were. Something needed to be done now to prevent us seeing the rates faced in parts of northern England.

“If agreed, the ‘High level’ restrictions would mean people will not be able to meet with anyone outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place. They would also not be able to meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.

“If we stick to these guidelines and follow the simple steps of washing our hands, wearing face coverings (if not exempt) and keeping our social distance, we can all play our part in halting the spread of the virus in Colchester and Essex as a whole and hopefully prevent the threat of even further tougher restrictions. We would also urge everyone to download the NHS Test and Trace app and, if they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19, to get a test.

“As we did through the national lockdown, this council and its partners will do everything it can to support business and residents impacted by the introduction of any new measures. We will also be encouraging the Government to provide as much support as possible for those businesses affected.

“Many people in this great borough will do the right thing. However, there are others who are getting ‘Covid fatigue’ and those who think the rules do not apply to them. We want everyone to play their part in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

“Please do it for your friends, do it for your family, do it for yourself and do it for Colchester.”

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