Today the Prime Minister has announced new Coronavirus alert levels for local areas, as well as £1bn for local authorities to tackle the spread of the virus.
For CCN member authorities, parts of Derbyshire and Lancashire have been placed in ‘tier two’, alongside Cheshire East and Nottinghamshire.
Below, the network responds to the announcement.
Cllr David Williams, chairman of the County Councils Network, said:
“A tiering system and a government commitment to working closely with councils will ensure we use local knowledge and expertise to try and stop the spread of the virus. As public health authorities, county councils will want to work closely with district councils to agree a flexible approach with clear communication being key. Some areas may wish to have a consistent set of measures across a county, while more targeted restrictions in individual districts may be wanted in others to address transmission hotspots.
“We very much welcome additional resources for councils and we now need clarity on how and under what circumstances they will be allocated and for what purposes. Whilst we await details on a more localised approach to track and trace, if only the areas that are on high alert are allowed to take over test and trace efforts, then this will have been a huge missed opportunity. Centralised tracing efforts are no substitute for local knowledge and expertise and in localised schemes have proved more effective in the areas where they are deployed alongside national tracing.
“While cases are rising, county areas have not yet seen the kind of exponential increases that the large cities are dealing with. Effective local test and trace measures will play a big role in preventing further lockdown measures in counties, which contain a range of communities and rural and remote areas. Counties are ready to roll this out quickly – but this should be for all areas rather than ones with the highest cases in recognition that it will be a truly national effort that will suppress the virus.”