Essex moves to Covid high risk at midnight and Northamptonshire at 'tipping point'

  • Watch a report about the new restrictions in Essex by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

Additional Covid restrictions have come into force in Essex as it moves from Tier 1 to 2 while health officials in Northamptonshire warn it could be next.

Essex moved from Tier 1 medium risk to Tier 2 high risk at midnight.

In addition to the Rule of Six and the 10pm hospitality curfew, which applies across the rest of the Anglia region, in Essex households can no longer mix indoors and the Rule of 6 will only apply outdoors.

People in Essex are being asked to minimise the number of journeys they make although they are allowed to travel to work and go to venues which are open. They are not allowed to travel to lower risk Tier 1 areas to take part in activities not permitted in their own area.

The village of Bures is divided by the River Stour with Suffolk on one side and Essex on the other.

The new restrictions are expected to hit the hospitality industry particularly hard. At the Thatchers Arms on the Essex side of Bures, 80% of bookings have already been cancelled for this weekend.

At the Three Horseshoes on the Suffolk side of Bures, landlady Pat Mulcahy has concerns about how changes over the border will affect her trade: "I feel bad for that side, we haven't had any cases in Bures. I'm just wet-led, no food, this is how it is, we'll just have to deal with it."

  • Watch a report on the growing coronavirus infection rate in Northamptonshire by ITV News Anglia's Rebecca Haworth

Health officials in Northamptonshire say coronavirus cases there have trebled since September and that the the county is approaching a tipping point to elevate from medium alert in Tier 1 into Tier 2, high alert.

Parents are being warned that over half term children shouldn't mix in other households or have sleepover and instead play outside in parks rather than private gardens.

Northamptonshire has had 715 new Covid cases in the week to Sunday 11 October, which was 261 more positive tests that the week before, an increase of nearly 60%.

The Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire CountyCouncil, Lucy Wightman said: “On Monday we were placed in Tier 1 of the Government’s alert system which leaves a number of activities which we are all still permitted to do.

“However, I can no stress enough that community household transmission is a large factor in spreading the virus. If we are mixing indoors with up to six people, we are at risk."

I have said it before and I will say it again – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. We all need to protect ourselves and each other. Together, and only together, do we stand a chance of doing so. Every one of us needs to take personal responsibility for the spread of this disease right now or we will face very troubling times ahead.

Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health, Essex said: "We believe that by getting more people to work from home and getting people to not mix as households, those two things together will allow us to bring the 'R' rate back below one again.

"We can see reductions in cases and get out of this position much more quickly than we would do had we waited for a few weeks till we get to a much higher level."