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Havering could face local lockdown as soon as October, council chief exec says

PUBLISHED: 17:03 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:03 16 September 2020

Havering Council chief executive Andrew Blake-Herbert. Picture: Steve Poston

Havering Council chief executive Andrew Blake-Herbert. Picture: Steve Poston

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The chief executive of Havering Council has revealed that the borough is facing the prospect of local lockdown as early as next month.

Havering Council's director of public health Mark Ansell. Picture: Havering CouncilHavering Council's director of public health Mark Ansell. Picture: Havering Council

Andrew Blake-Herbert gave the warning in an internal council message that has been seen by the Recorder.

There were 81 positive coronavirus cases in the borough in the week ending September 11 - there have only been four higher weekly figures since the pandemic began in March.

This puts Havering’s weekly case rate per 100,000 people at 31.2, which is well above the London and England averages of 20.6 and 26.7 respectively.

Mr Blake-Herbert said: “As it stands we are facing the prospect of ‘lockdowns’ as early as October.

“We want to avoid any further local restrictions and keep our residents safe and businesses open. We all have a part to play in helping our numbers go back in the right direction.”

He also urged council staff to support the #DoingMyBit campaign, which launched last month asking residents to help reduce the spread of the virus.

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“Any decline in the rate of infection in Havering is unlikely to be felt for a few weeks”, Mr Blake-Herbert added.

“With Havering’s numbers already flying close to the government’s watchlist, we need you to play your part and help our message hit home.”

The council’s director of public health, Mark Ansell, told the Recorder the council feels it is the “right and responsible thing to do” to highlight the rising rates of infection.

Additional restrictions have already been placed in areas such as the north of England and the Midlands.

Mr Ansell said: “We could reach similar levels in a few weeks if things don’t change.

“We urge everyone to keep to the rule of six and follow hand and respiratory hygiene, social distancing and, should they exhibit symptoms, then to seek a test and isolate until results are known.

“We know that this is not easy, but we do have it within our gift to hold back the tide of infection if we all do our bit.”

When asked if Havering is a safe place for people, he added: “Right now, Havering is as safe as other parts of London – levels of infection are far lower than at the height of the first wave but we need to act now to clamp down on the increase we’re seeing locally.”

For more on #DoingMyBit, go to havering.gov.uk/doingmybit.


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