New restrictions will prevent county going into ‘very high’ tier
- Credit: James Linsell-Clark/ SWNS
Essex’s public health chief has called for people to “act now” to prevent further restrictions in the future as the county enters the “High” alert tier.
Last night at 0.01am, the majority of Essex entered the Covid-warning level Tier 2 meaning that people are no longer able to socialise indoors with anyone except their household or support bubble.
It comes after Essex County Council took the unprecedented step of asking to be moved into the higher tier of restrictions.
However, Southend and Thurrock will not move into Tier Two as they are run by unitary authorities.
Dr Mike Gogarty, director of public health and wellbeing in the county, said: “Across the county we have moved from gradual to exponential growth with number of cases rising exponentially.
“We want to act now to minimise the impact on the public health and the economy and by doing so we believe we can shorten the period of enhanced restrictions.”
David Finch, the leader of Essex County Council, added that this early step could prevent tighter restrictions in the future.
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He 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’. All of this will limit the damage to the economy and a healthy economy is critical to everyone having better lives in future.
“We already have one of the best track and trace operations in the country, but we will also be aiming to push its performance still higher alongside strengthening enforcement capacity and visibility. Making these painful decisions now will, we hope, bring dividends later.
“We understand that the move to the High local Covid alert level may affect people’s lives and businesses and understand the very strong feelings about this. However, we have a duty of care to the people of Essex, and we firmly believe that this is the best route to minimise disruptions, to save lives – not just for those with the virus, but for other patients as well – and to protect businesses.
“These are difficult times for individuals, businesses and communities, but I know that as a county we will come together to support and protect one another – as we have done previously - and that acting sooner rather than later to curb the spread of Covid is the right thing to do.”