Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, responds to details about COVID-19 alert levels announced by the Prime Minister.
“The simplified alert levels will make it easier for communities and the councils who represent them to understand, communicate and follow the rules in place.
“Driving strong local action and effective contact tracing will add further pressure to already over-stretched council budgets so we are pleased government will provide much-needed additional funding for areas at alert level 3 and that councils will also benefit from a further £1 billion relating to wider COVID-19 cost pressures. We await further details around this funding.
“Local contact tracing services are supporting NHS Test and Trace in many areas, with latest figures showing they reached 97.1 per cent of close contacts who were asked to self-isolate. The Government is right to recognise the urgent need to build upon these successful local efforts to address the current inadequacies of the national scheme.
“We know the significant social and economic costs of higher restrictions. People need to know that a drop in infection rates will result in an easing of restrictions as quickly as possible. This new tiered approach must also allow local councillors and public health experts to respond to specific causes of spikes in infections in their areas.
“It is clear that we face an incredibly difficult few weeks and months. We all now - more than ever - have a duty to get ourselves tested when needed, self-isolate if positive and share our contacts on request. It is also vital that people keep washing their hands, wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing.”