Speaking after the government confirmed Telford and Wrekin would return to Tier 2 when the four-week lockdown ends on Wednesday, December 2, Councillor Shaun Davies said the borough’s “expanded testing capacity” gave it a chance to “break the transmission”.
Local authorities’ tier allocations will be reviewed after two weeks, which, he said, gives residents time to “drive numbers down” ahead of the December 16 reassessment.
Cllr Davies, who leads Telford and Wrekin’s Labour administration, said the council and its partners had “worked hard to help those most in need” during the pandemic.
On Thursday, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock MP announced where English local authority areas would be placed on the on the three-level coronavirus alert system.
Speaking at a full meeting of the council, held remotely later that day, Cllr Davies said: “As we enter what is due to be the final week of the current national coronavirus pandemic lockdown, we’ve learned today that we will be in Tier 2 from next week.”
Neighbouring Shropshire Council is also in Tier 2, while Wolverhampton, like several other West Midlands authorities, went into Tier 3, the “very high alert” level.
Cllr Davies said: “We’ve been led to believe that the tier allocations will be regularly reviewed by government every 14 days. This means that we do have an opportunity to drive numbers down further.
“Get a test if you have symptoms. We’ve been able to expand our testing capacity, which means that people who don’t have the common symptoms can still get a test.”
The council announced last week that it had opened up local coronavirus testing to people with certain precautionary symptoms. More information is available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Cllr Davies said: “We know from other areas of the country, particularly Liverpool, that the key to this is to break the transmission. If we can break the transmission our numbers can decline and maybe – maybe – we’ll have Tier 1 ahead of Christmas.
“This is a difficult time for our businesses and communities, but we are on their side. We’ve worked hard, and continue to work hard, with our partners to help those in most need.”
He gave examples of the council’s work throughout the summer and autumn, including providing 320 laptops for schoolchildren the provision of free school meals during the summer holidays to eligible children.
“We are extending that to cover the Christmas holidays too, and we are aiming to work with partners to provide lunch packs during the Easter holidays next year,” he added.