Colchester Council leader Mark Cory (pictured) believes a circuit breaker is needed to put the brakes on the spread of coronavirus.

IT is very sad to be back here again.

I wish we were not looking down the barrel of another wave of Covid, but we are very much in it now.

Despite cases of Covid in Colchester having been low over the last few months, the numbers are now going up exponentially and our trajectory is leading us to a dangerous place.

With hospital admissions across England now higher than they were in March, the time to act is now.

The Government again has been slow to act.

Its independent scientific and medical advisory group, SAGE, advised three weeks ago that a circuit breaker was required.

I am unsure as to why the Government did not take that advice.

I understand that it’s much harder to sell to the public when numbers appear low, but they are climbing rapidly now.Gazette:

Slow to act? - Prime Minister Boris Johnson

It is the rapid rise, which we saw in the first outbreak, that is now happening again.

During the first ten days of October, the rate in Colchester has multiplied five times, from ten per 100,000 to 50.

By the time this goes to print, the rate will have jumped up again.

Our neighbouring authority, Tendring, has seen an even bigger jump.

It’s this exponential rise that puts us on track to be in the same position as Manchester in a matter of weeks.

This is not opinion - this is based on fact and simple mathematics.

The next two week’s growth is ‘baked-in’.

People will get the virus over the next 14 days from others who may not know they have it.

The facts that we all accepted in the first wave remain the same this time.

This is why I’m surprised that Government has not followed the advice.

Yes, it has a concern about the economy and also about people following the rules.

I believe, sadly, that there is also a lack of trust in the Government which has developed over time.


Agreement - Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin

On the matter of supporting our economy, I believe a circuit breaker - a short, sharp lockdown - is the best way to give certainty and a chance for business to bounce back.

Here I agree with the three ‘Sirs’ - our local Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin; the Labour leader, Sir Kier Starmer; and the Lib Dem leader, Sir Ed Davey, who suggest a circuit breaker now gives the best chance for lives and livelihoods to be protected.

For me, a circuit breaker would have to include two things.

Firstly, direct support to business for the two to three week shut down.

It would need a shorter, sharper injection of support from Government, rather than a longer dragged out lockdown.

Secondly, shut schools for an extra week over half-term.

Other parts of the UK are doing this. It makes sense. I’ve seen it first-hand - despite the best efforts of headteachers, we cannot stop the spread among young adults.

Finally, I have backed Essex County Council’s pro-active move. However I worry so much about our local businesses and hospitality sector.

I worry about them being stuck in a halfway house, unable to carry on.

This is why I am lobbying MPs and Government for the certainty and support our local businesses need.

For me, a short, sharp circuit-breaker of two to three weeks, with targeted Government support, would give us all a clear and supportive way forward and a chance for the Government to right the wrongs of the Test and Trace system and hospital capacity.

If not, we will face a difficult winter.