Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health Dr Mike Gogarty has warned that coronavirus “could come back with a vengeance” if lockdown rules aren’t adhered to.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a roadmap out of lockdown earlier this week, outlining a number of key dates where lockdown restrictions may ease across the country.
The first easing will happen on March 8, when schools will reopen to pupils, and one-on-one social meetings will be allowed to happen between households outdoors.
Despite the good news, Dr Mike Gogarty warned Essex residents that we are “not out of the woods yet” in an Essex Live Facebook Q and A yesterday evening (Wednesday, February 14).
Dr Gogarty said: “At the moment, one in a hundred people in Essex have got this disease and don’t know that they’ve got it.
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“That means when you go to the supermarket, you’re very likely to run into someone who is infected.
“It’s really important that people observe the restrictions at the moment.
“We are certainly not out of the woods at all yet, and this thing could go up again.
“If everybody started relaxing tomorrow, and everybody started mixing tomorrow, the virus would come back with a vengeance.”
Infection rates – which take the number of cases per 100,000 residents in a particular area – have consistently been decreasing for more than a month now, but are still high.
Minor rises in areas like Rochford, Brentwood and Colchester in recent days aren’t to be worried about though, and are likely just “wobbles” related to how data is gathered.
Dr Gogarty also revealed that some schools may see a phased return when the first lockdown rules are lifted on March 8.
This is so that testing infrastructure can be set up completely, and those students in larger secondary schools may see a phased return over the course of the week.
Primary Schools will all return on March 8 across Essex though, and Essex County Council has promised more information on what parents can expect very soon.