A HEALTH boss is urging residents to maintain social distancing measures following an increase in Covid-19 cases in Harwich and Clacton.

The first signs of an increase in coronavirus cases in the two towns has been detected by Dr Mike Gogarty, director of public health for Essex after 21 cases were reported in the past two weeks. 

Dr Gogarty said: "We have seen the first signs of an increase in cases of covid-19 in Clacton and Harwich and want to reassure residents that we are taking necessary action with our partners to understand this and put measures in place to ensure residents remain safe.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to stress to residents of Clacton and Harwich and surrounding areas that it is essential if this disease is to be controlled that they maintain social distancing measures and follow the latest government advice.

"This is the only way the virus will be defeated."

According to the latest Government figures, a total of 637 Tendring residents have had Covid-19.

He added the latest data reveals a "small increase" in the numbers with Covid-19, and detailed analysis from the Essex and Southend Contact Tracing Service shows that this is mainly in young adults.

The Essex and Southend Contract Tracing Service is working to contact those who may be considered contacts and providing the necessary advice and support.

W Tendring Council’s Health Protection team is also aiming to target key areas and locations to provide specialist advice.

However, he has stressed it is most important people remember that the virus is still with us and could increase again at any time unless everyone follows protective measures.

"People must stay two meters from each other if they are to avoid getting our transmitting the disease, if this is not possible other measures such as masks should be worn. Please continue to be vigilant with handwashing and if you do feel unwell you should isolate yourself and get a test straight away via the NHS website," he added.

An Essex County Council spokesman said the authority is not looking at a local lockdown at this stage. 

She added:"We will continue to review the situation and if further action is needed to be taken then we will communicate further."

Neil Stock, Tendring Council Leader, said the authority is aware of an increase in Covid-19 cases in the area.

“We are working closely with our colleagues at both Essex County Council and Public Health England as part of the overall response,” Mr Stock said.

“We are asking residents to stick to the guidelines which are in place to protect us all. So keep washing your hands regularly, follow social distancing of two-metres, or one metre-plus where that is not possible, wear a face covering when out in public. If you have symptoms, then do not go out, and get yourself tested.

“This applies to everyone, of all ages and genders. If everyone sticks to these guidelines then we have the best possible chance of minimising transmission of coronavirus in our community. If people do not, then we face the potential of a local lockdown as we have seen previously in places like Leicester."