Cheshire West and Chester Council have written to the government to request stricter measures to restrict families to a town meeting.
In an effort to address the increase in COVID-19 infections and protect public health, CWaC Leader Louise Gittins wrote to Secretary of State for Health and Welfare Matt Hancock and asked ministers to consider additional restrictions, something the board expects them to be open to.
Cheshire West and Chester Currently it is exempt from restrictions in effect in Merseyside, Halton and Warrington while the Welsh government has also implemented additional restrictions in neighboring cross-border areas, including Flintshire and Deside.
If the application is approved, the new restrictions will prevent families from meeting other families in homes or gardens, with some exceptions stipulated by law.
Although Cheshire West has succeeded in keeping infection rates lower than many other areas across northern England, the latest data shows that the weekly incidence rate is over 60 per 100,000 and continues to increase.This represents a doubling of the price over two weeks. The town is also now appearing on the government’s National Watch List as an area of concern.
Cllr Gittins said: “We are proud of the response to the pandemic by our residents, who have made an inspiring commitment to fighting this virus across western Cheshire. This has helped contain infection levels in West Cheshire below levels found in other parts of the North.
“However, disturbing data indicates a rapid increase in infections and more susceptible people. Many infections occur due to mixing of families.
“People feel more comfortable at home with family and friends, but people are not safe in those situations where mixing between families leads to the spread of the virus. Some people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to another person who can continue to develop. More fatal complications.
We suggest these critical actions with a heavy heart. We understand that additional measures will have a negative impact on the well-being of many of those affected, so they should not be taken lightly. But by acting now rather than later, they will address some of the more common causes of transmission of COVID-19, by limiting the ability of the virus to transmit between different families.
“ Evidence from cases within our area indicates that by reducing transmission in the wider community, this will then help relieve pressure on our schools, the NHS, places of care and key workers.
These measures come at a significant local cost, and we will be making proposals in partnership with neighboring councils to ensure they are fully funded across our sub-region, along with measures to support businesses that will be negatively affected. We are aware of the challenges posed by the new restrictions, but we feel that they are the best option to confront this virus at this stage of the epidemic. “
The council will strengthen its support for the most vulnerable people, ensuring that the isolated people who need help are supported. Extensive measures are also being taken to protect the residents of nursing homes.
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The government will make the final decision on whether to implement the restrictions. Discussions are ongoing with officials and the time frame for a government decision is unclear, but residents will be informed of developments at the earliest opportunity.
CWaC held a board meeting for the COVID-19 outbreak on Tuesday (September 28) and a dialogue was scheduled with the Cheshire East Board on how to proceed.
The CWaC says it continues to work closely with neighboring authorities, to ensure consistency of approach and to prevent, as much as possible, the application of different rules between different council regions, and to continue to bring up a case for more resources, more testing and more local contact tracing.