"Additional measures will be required to slow the rate of infection" in Cheshire East

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As a result of rising Covid infection rates in Cheshire East the Council leader has stated that "additional measures will be required to slow the rate of infection".

Cheshire East Council's local outbreak board met behind closed doors on Tuesday, 29th September, to agree what the council, with its partners, needs to do in response regarding asking the government to bring in extra restrictions across east and west Cheshire.

Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "We are seeing rising infection rates in Cheshire East and this is an increasing concern.

"As a council we have responsibilities to protect the health of people who live and work in the borough. This responsibility has to be balanced with the need to support our residents and businesses to more normal ways of working and living life.

"The best way for us all to protect ourselves and each other from the virus is to maintain social distancing of two metres where possible, wash our hands more frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water, avoid touching our faces and wearing a face covering when required.

"We are grateful that Cheshire East residents have, overall, been observing these measures well, and this has no doubt been part of the reason we have not seen even higher rates. However, in the face of rising rates, we must look for other ways to control the virus and reduce the risk.

"The government has introduced the 'rule of six' meaning that people from different households cannot meet indoors or outdoors in groups of any more than six people. A curfew has been introduced for pubs, bars and restaurants. But still, across the country we are seeing rates rise.

"Some areas of the country, including neighbouring areas such as Stockport, Merseyside, Warrington and Halton, have seen additional restrictions put in place to slow the spread.

"We are now seeing evidence that additional measures will be required to slow the rate of infection.

"Cheshire East Council's local outbreak board met today (Tuesday 29 September) to discuss the current situation and to agree what the council, with its partners, needs to do in response.

"We have a number of enforcement powers that we can use, and we will use them to their fullest potential where applicable to deal with the risk of infection. We will continue to work closely with Cheshire West and Chester Council, as well as our local MPs and the government to explore what additional restrictions will be appropriate for Cheshire East, and more widely for Cheshire as a whole."

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "We know that the idea of additional restrictions will be a concern for many people. Businesses are struggling. Our social lives have been affected. During lockdown we missed our families and friends, and we worried about the most vulnerable people in our community.

"We will do whatever we can to protect those vulnerable people, support businesses, and protect each other against this virus, but we believe that we need to take extra steps to do that and we need additional powers and resources from government.

"We have already written to the Secretary of State for health to ask for additional powers over establishments that are not complying with the rules and resources to assist with contact tracing. We will continue to work with neighbouring councils, MPs and government to ensure that we are in the best possible position to fight Covid-19."

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Adrian Scott
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 10:46 am
I note with concern, but not surprise, that the biggest rise in cases per messrs Vallance and Whitty is in the age group 20 - 29.When one watches news broadcasts and press photos, we the sensible elderly can completely understand why.
As we move into the winter we will see more. Sorry folks but I would close the pubs (again), We have all seen crowded pubs with no social distancing, or masks, and the overspill at kick out time. If the youngsters get it Tough !! but when they take it home and infect the elderly, that is totally disgraceful.
Kareem Masdoon
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 2:24 pm
Perhaps our elected Councillors can advise us in detail what these new emergency powers are that they seek?Will we have Covid Wardens issuing penalty notices and will there be specific mention that these are temporary measures only and that they will be lifted in the near and not the far future?
Re Vallance and Whitty I think their days may be numbered according to new leaked reports circulating.
Lisa Reeves
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 7:03 pm
I have requested more details twice but the Council has not provided it.

Here is my latest email to the Council:

"Thanks for the statement but it’s all very general and doesn’t give any
details about what the outbreak board agreed needs to done in response.

"It also doesn’t explain what the additional restrictions and enforcement
powers are which my readers are asking."
Craig Browne
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 9:16 pm
Dear all,

I have noted the comments above and on a separate thread and would like to provide some clarification, as I understand that people are rightly anxious about what is being proposed.

It falls within the remit of local authorities to carry out enforcement across two very specific areas: businesses (e.g. through licensing) and premises (e.g. through planning). It is across the first of these two areas ONLY that additional enforcement capabilities are being sought. Local authorities have no remit to take enforcement action against the personal behaviour of individual citizens; this falls to central government and the police.

Public Health England (PHE), using a traffic light system, allocates a RAG (red, amber, green) rating to each local authority in the country; these ratings take into account the number of infections per 100,000 population and the rate of increase in infections over the previous 7 days. Thanks in large part to the way in which residents of Cheshire East have observed government guidance so far, Cheshire East has remained the only area within Cheshire & Merseyside not to have a red rating.

This morning, that has changed. For the first time, Cheshire East has exceeded an average of 50 infections per 100,000 of population and this is the trigger for PHE to alter our rating from amber to red. It is also the trigger for the borough to be put on the government’s “watch list” – it is important for everyone to understand that once a local authority is on the watch list, the next step has usually been for the government to impose a local lock down (as has been seen in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and parts of the northeast).

Whilst the vast majority of Cheshire East residents have taken sensible precautions, such as wearing face coverings, observing social distancing and not meeting in large groups, we are aware that there are businesses, notably within the hospitality sector, that have persistently failed to comply with national legislation. We have therefore sought the ability to carry out additional enforcement activities in a targeted way and for a time limited period in an attempt to address this issue.

Another lock down would be devastating for many small businesses; it would likely cost jobs and livelihoods and is something that Cheshire East Council is anxious to avoid, in the interests of all its residents. By seeking from government specific, time limited enforcement powers to ensure that all businesses comply, we hope to avoid a second lock down, which has the potential to cause long term damage to our economy and our communities.

In this, I would like to ask for your patience, understanding and continued support.

Best wishes,
Craig
Kareem Masdoon
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 9:30 pm
Thanks Alderley Edge.com and Lisa this is all very important

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