"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.

Kareem Masdoon
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 10:06 am
Can you tell us EXACTLY WHAT THESE ADDITIONAL POWERS ARE PLEASE? You need to be up font and accoubtable to the electorate , you do not hold those seats forever...I do hope you are not looking to increase the Council's coffers by wielding extra powers to create extra fines using Covid as the perfect excuse. Perhaps Council members (Mr Browne) tell us EXACTLY WHAT THESE measures entail ....and when you intend to repeal them. Tread very carefully, I have lived under the yoke of authoritarianism in a different country and your voters will not find sneaked in, knee jerk measures appealing unless you are up front. So a full lust please gents, plus information on when the "new measures" go into the bin?
Mark Russell
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 12:06 pm
How can this joker keep a straight face. He wants to make new laws up to deal with an international problem but he has had five years to sort his one main problem of parking. A big fat zero on the easy one (parking) so why should we trust him with anything else.

This totally inept and widely commented worst council in England need to shut up with the fancy news briefings and run the towns and villages they were voted in to fix. Let government do their job and you do yours by sorting out the mess we are in. #covidiots
Julian Barlow
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 2:04 pm
When the local economy tanks, CEC run out of businesses to plunder and essential life saving services are slashed, exactly who will we have saved by stopping indoors?

CEC are incapable of resolving simple parking issues, the possibility that they might acquire additional powers to restrict our freedom should terrify everyone.
Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 2:18 pm
Cheshire East one of the finest areas but less can be said about some of the Counsellors and certainly how the council is run. Parking Issues, Roads and Pavements are a sorry state of affairs, grass growing over onto pavements slowly disappearing, and hedges forcing people onto the road as the pavement has gone from 1 metre wide to 30cm. I drive around the area most days and its very clear to see that management has fallen badly behind to many cooks and no chef. As for company's breaking the law surely Police have powers to prosecute and there is already a public law for businesses to conform to covid tracking and they must register on uk.gov there business and they will be emailed a specific QR code for there business the solution is to educate not ask for powers that already exist.
Barry Buxton
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 2:24 pm
The "jokers" are Kareem Masdoon and Mark Russell. They obviously don't have even the slightest understanding of what a viral pandemic can do! Libertarianism is off the table at a time like this. Get real you deluded people.
Kathryn Blackburn
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 2:28 pm
I assume this photograph has not been taken recently ? No masks no distancing or is that just for the rest of us ?
Paul Millett
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 3:34 pm
More power to 'little men' who thrive on such things. Lets have some perspective 1million dead (how accurate is that figure? Massively overestimated i would imagine) from a population of 6 - 7 billion!!
Diana Jennings
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 3:52 pm
What a pointless article. No news, nothing new, no more information.
Mark Russell
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 4:35 pm
@barry. I don’t understand your point. Do read posts properly before making yourself look silly.
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 4:48 pm
Never believe anything that CEC says.
Fiona Doorbar
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 5:06 pm
How can anyone form an opinion on this if we are not given any information or detail??
Kareem Masdoon
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 5:12 pm
@Barry would you like to take my shift in Manchester on A and E tomorrow...you are most welcome as you clearly are the Medical expert. I dealt with a severed thumb at the weekend (angle grinding accident) I am sure your expertise would have been invaluable ;)) .
Also the "ad hominem" attack for one who asks quite harmlessly what the new regulations would involve does not undermine the fact that we are dealing with a bad virus. You seem to be transferring?
Kareem Masdoon
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 5:20 pm
And Barry have a great evening by the way. ( Sorry you seem angry.... is it the Pharma share prices?? ;))
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 6:50 pm
Chuckle Kareem! My son and I were only lamenting earlier that it’s such a shame that Covid hits the infirm elderly and not the stupid. This shower couldn’t paint a yellow line straight.
Erik Garner
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 6:51 pm
When CEC talk about taking extra measures in CE can they be more specific? It’s a big county and you can’t punish the whole county if only a small area is responsible for most cases.
Ta the same when the track and trace app states that SK9 is a high risk area. Again net down the region by specific post codes.
SK9 could be massively different from say SK2 so why shut down the whole area.
Non of it makes any sense.
Lisa Reeves
Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 7:04 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 9:11 pm
Dear all,

I have always refrained from commenting on wilmslow.co.uk as I believe it to be the premise of Wilmslow Councillors and there is an etiquette that one should not comment on issues within another member's ward; however, these are exceptional circumstances and the issue under discussion affects every area of the borough.

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, we ask for your patience, understanding and support.

Kind regards,
Cllr Craig Browne
Deputy Leader, Cheshire East Council
David Smith
Thursday 1st October 2020 at 9:23 am
CRAIG BROWNE: please don't ever feel that you can't post on WILMSLOW.co.uk. Not many councillors do post here and really they ALL should post because many issues that regularly crop up do not have 'boundaries' and so spread all over Cheshire EAST & WEST and Lancashire and Devon and Northumberland. It would be therefore quite heartening to know that ALL councils in the UK are somehow working together to identify common problems that need sorting out very quickly and which NEED fresh or modified legislation from government to enable issues to be dealt with in a manner that will see them stop. I somehow don't feel that our councillors are working together with other local groups to form a policy of what is needed and then work UPWARDS via the local MP to the parts of government that can DO SOMETHING - on issues that all councils in the country actually want sorted. We are governed too much in a TOP down process instead of a BOTTOM up process. Unfortunately national politics has an influence from the top on what goes on at the bottom, which shouldn't always be. What happens in this little neck of the woods is for the benefit of all of us who live here amongst the trees, and bees and butterflies and streams flowing with clean fresh water. OK I painted a picture in the last sentence of the direction where we should be speeding - are aren't - but what's wrong with that? I don't think anyone in this time of climate change and giving our planet a future would not wish to be heading that way - but perhaps there will be some comments after mine to prove otherwise.
Perhaps not many councillors are willing to post comments because their views will then be on record for all time.
It is welcoming to hear what a minority of councillors have to say and I would feel heartened that council leaders actually encouraged them all to get stuck in and communicate with their electorate, otherwise when election time comes around and they are bombarded with leaflets through their doors BEGGING for a vote, it sort of makes those who have disappeared into the council undergrowth look rather ineffectual. So why should we then vote for them?

I have often quoted words from my councillor Don Stockton’s last election mission statement:
“I am re-standing in this election because I love this area and want to work with you to help make it an even better place to live and work”
&
“You have a clear choice between my positive vision for improving our area or taking a step backwards with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party”.

We’ve never heard a peep from him on any of the contentious and much discussed topics that appear in Wilmslow.co.uk. I don’t think he has made a single contribution to even explain what his VISION might be for a ‘better place’ and about the finer details as to how life under a Corbyn Wilmslow would be rather than empty threats as to how it might be. Regular postings from our councillors lay down a record on what they have been doing, what they stand for and the sort of person they are - so come the next election we, the electorate, can decide if we want them to represent US. A councillor with a good public record and standing doesn’t need to pop a begging leaflet through your letterbox. You will have met them on the street and chewed the fat on local issues.
Finally: now here’s a suggestion. How about our councillors having a stall at the regular Artisan Market in Grove Street? They can stand there wearing a large badge that says, “I am councillor Blogs. Talk to me”. That would be a start towards better ‘councilloring’ [it’s a new word I’ve just created and means communicating with the electorate].
John Gosling
Thursday 1st October 2020 at 9:45 am
Thank you Councillor Browne for the clarification. It seems fair enough for the Council to seek powers to be able to enforce more effectively the existing government imposed restrictions (whatever I may think about those restrictions). But I certainly hope that the Council will resist any attempts by the government/PHE to impose on the basis of the current level of positive test results any "additional measures" when, as I understand it, the level of hospitalisations due to Covid in Cheshire East remains low. As you say, the premature imposition of additional measures would be devastating for many businesses and would likely cost jobs and livelihoods.
David Jefferay
Thursday 1st October 2020 at 3:48 pm
Hi David Smith,
I am one of the Cheshire East Councillors for Wilmslow (I represent Wilmslow East ward). Thanks for the suggestion regarding a stall at the Artisan Market. We (Residents of Wilmslow, who have four of the five CEC Wilmslow councillors and four of the Town councillors) did regularly take a stall at the artisan leading up to lockdown (or rather up to the end of last year - the few markets leading up to lockdown were cancelled due to poor weather). Since lockdown was eased, the market has been required to comply with social distancing rules so you will have noticed that there are half the number of stalls that there used to be. We therefore decided not to take a stall from someone who needs it for their living.
However, Residents of Wilmslow will shortly be putting out some information to update residents on what we have been doing and it is our intent for RoW representatives including councillors to be out and about in the town centre during one of the upcoming market days (once the information has gone out and residents have questions about it).
Regarding online presence, you are correct, I probably don’t comment on here as much as I used to (or should do) but I do monitor it (and the Wilmslow Facebook sites) and contribute if I have something of value to say. Likewise with Cllr Iain Macfarlane but I think Cllrs Mark Goldsmith and Toni Fox comment more.
Up until lockdown, my RoW Town Council Wilmslow East colleagues and I were publishing an online monthly newsletter. I plan to resume that shortly as it seemed to be well received. I have experimented with surgeries in the past as well (it was generally me sitting there on my own so I didn’t persist with those) but Wilmslow Town Council, the Wilmslow East PCSO and I have recently discussed a joint online meeting with residents which may come to fruition in the near future.
One of the commitments we made prior to the elections was to be more open and transparent so if you have further suggestions regarding how to improve communication routes or information you’d like, please feel free to get in touch ().
Pete Taylor
Thursday 1st October 2020 at 7:00 pm
@ Craig Browne, please do post here, your excellent views are most welcome. RoW took some inspiration from Alderley First when seeking to boot out the Party Politics from local government. Unfortunately it has reared its ugly head again, recently, on WTC. There are still some party-political dinosaurs roaming around.

@ David Smith, actually the Independent local Councillors do pitch in here (and on other local forums) quite often; compared to five years ago the communication situation has massively improved; no more talking down to us, lots of listening and acting on what they hear. I believe there currently is a vacancy on WTC down your end of town- why don't you give it a go? We need more independently-minded folks like you.

If you are expecting a response from "silent" Don Stockton here, or anywhere else; you will be in for a long wait; he's been asked for public comment many, many times but....
Laurie Atterbury
Sunday 4th October 2020 at 7:16 am
Never believe anything that CEC says.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 8th October 2020 at 3:26 pm
John Gosling- that is the whole issue. Not how many 40 cycle PCR tests show positive (false or true no-one knows the rates) but how many people are ill or admitted to hospital. As at the end of September England had less than 800 with covid19 in hospital (with 60 in ICU) out of over 1000 hospitals. What are todays figures? The NHS had been lazing around all summer while the body count from non covid rises!!
Kathryn Blackburn
Sunday 11th October 2020 at 10:16 am
And according to newspaper reports between 20% and 25% of all new Covid cases have been caught in hospital.

We have new cases in 8 Cheshire East Care homes 'near the boundary' brought in apparently by staff coming in from the Greater Manchester area.
Yet we are not to be told where these Care Homes are so that we can avoid those areas. Go figure.

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