The Essex County Council chair has called on the government to implement the Essex Level 2 lockdown restrictions immediately – and claims the county will meet the national limit within weeks.
Cllr David Finch announced this morning that the board has asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock to put Essex on a “high level” alert for COVID-19.
The three-level lockdown system for the Coronavirus was announced yesterday in Parliament (Monday, October 12). At the moment, Essex is under a Level 1 lock – the lowest in existence.
However, Cllr David Finch said the Level 2 shutdown is only weeks away, so he has asked the government to speed up implementation of measures.
“In Essex we believe in taking action and in this case it is a business that we believe will protect the lives of the people of Essex, the NHS and most importantly our local economy,” he said at a board meeting this morning.
“Based on a detailed analysis of the increasing number of cases, we believe it may take only one to two weeks before Essex enters the two levels of new government traffic light restrictions announced yesterday.
“It is also our conclusion based on data that moving previously to two-tiered restrictions would reduce the impact on case numbers, the NHS and the local economy by flattening the case curve and enabling it to reduce more quickly as we progress towards the end of the year.
“We announced today that we have contacted Secretary of State, Matt Hancock Rep, to seek permission to impose two-tier restrictions before Essex reaches the national threshold for this action.
“This means Essex will become a leader in proactive prevention based on the view that we are one of the most capable authorities in the country to deal with this pandemic.”
Lawton’s opposition advisor, Chris Bond, agreed that this was the best course of action.
He replied, “I think it is the right thing to do, and if it is unfortunate, then I think we are doing the right thing.”
Tier two measures – which would prohibit domestic mixing at home – will be put in place throughout Essex County Council jurisdiction.
In theory, this means Southend and Thorrock can avoid the measures – because they are unitary authorities.
However, the final decision is up to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
For all the details announced at this morning’s meeting, click here.