COUNCIL bosses say they have been vindicated in their decision to put Essex into tier two before the national lockdown as the infection rate across the county falls.

During a Essex County Council Covid-19 briefing it was revealed the county had moved from having one of the highest infection rates in the East of England to one of the lowest.

John Spence, Essex County Council cabinet member for health, expressed his “gratitude to the people of Essex”.

He said: “The aim was to avoid ever going into tier three or a full lockdown but in the end the national lockdown was created.

“The merits for that and the reason for that is increasingly obvious. As Dr Gogarty had predicted all the way through we have seen rising volumes around us.

“We have actually gone in terms of cases per 100,000 from being just close to the highest in the region in mid October to being the second lowest now.

Brentwood Live:

“We have seen some stabilisation in numbers of cases but we should be very clear as to the fragility of that.”

“There is evidence across the country that combined effects of half term and the pre lockdown entertainment that some people embarked on has further aggravated the situation.

“We are also very conscious that inevitably the number of people dying in hospitals in Essex has very sadly increased.”

Read more:

Mr Spence said the reality of hospital deaths showed why the tier two move was necessary.

He said: “We had no deaths in Essex hospitals in September and since the start of October we are now approaching 200. That is a heavy cross for anybody to have to carry and reminds me why it was the right, courageous thing to do.”

A decision on which tier to recommend Essex is placed in at the end of the lockdown is expected next week.

Mr Spence added: “We hope to be able to recommend to the secretary of state that we can go back into tier one or whatever tier one might look like in December.

“We are very clear we will only be able to return to tier one if our population are rigorous in their observance of the rules.”