HARWICH and North Essex’s MP says a four-week extension to Covid-19 restrictions is a “small price to pay” to avoid tougher rules if case numbers continue to grow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the planned lifting of England’s remaining coronavirus restrictions will be delayed for up to four weeks.

It means lockdown measures could stay in place until Monday, July 19 as the PM warned the Government’s roadmap must be “irreversible.”

Mr Johnson made the decision - which was approved by MPs on Wednesday - in the face of a surge in Covid cases around the country.

In Tendring there were 33 new cases in the seven days to June 17, giving the area an infection rate of 15 cases per 100,000 people - an increase of 94 per cent on the previous week.

As the restrictions are extended it means limits on numbers for sports events, pubs and cinemas will remain in place, while nightclubs will stay shut and people will be asked to continue working from home where possible.

Downing Street has left open the option of ending restrictions on July 5 if the data proves drastically better than expected, but has conceded this is “unlikely”.

Harwich and North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said he supported the Government’s plan.

He said: “I wish there was no case for doing this, but there is uncertainty about the data.

“A few weeks of the the present restrictions are a small price to pay to avoid any together restrictions later on, which the Government argues is a possibility.”

Clacton MP Giles Watling said he had not been inclined to support his own government on this issue, but having watched the PM’s announcement and the subsequent scientific advice, he will reluctantly approve the further four-week extension.

He added: “While I respect those who point to the dangers of new variants, the data shows that the vaccine continues to work.

“To restrict liberty is something you do only when there is acute risk.

“The risk, thanks to the vaccine, is no longer as critical as it was when I supported lockdown in the face of hospitals which were over capacity. Therefore, restrictions continuing is hard for me to justify.

“We police by consent, and with these facts in mind, my sense is that the consent of the people is now becoming exhausted.

“In addition, restrictions are not without harm. I’ve spent a lifetime supporting the economic and community hubs that are theatres and pubs.

“Restrictions harm them greatly. We cannot postpone life in the face of every blip.

“So, another four weeks and then freedom. I believe that we as a society must take that leap.

“Clacton depends on the tourism and hospitality sector hugely – we must support those benighted businesses. I feel opposing a further extension is what I must do in the name of people’s livelihoods.”

Uncertainty over the restrictions has led to the cancellation of Tendring’s biggest event - the Clacton Airshow - in August.

There will instead by a special flypast by the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Fight to mark the resort’s 150th anniversary.