The leader and deputy leader of Cheshire East Council have issued a public statement in response to rising Covid-19 infection rates in the borough.
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 on 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.
“In the meantime, I would reiterate that, in addition to the work of the council and its partners, there are simple steps that each of us personally can take protect ourselves and each other:
- Keep to the rule of six;
- Wash hands regularly;
- Wear a face covering in places where social distancing may be difficult; and
- Social distance by two metres.
“If you have Covid-19 symptoms of high fever, continuous cough and loss of taste or smell, then self-isolate immediately and get tested by calling 119 or visit the NHS website. If you have a positive test or are alerted by a contact tracer, play your part to protect your community by self-isolating; this is now a legal requirement.”