New COVID-19 local powers welcomed

Liverpool City Council has welcomed the Government’s announcement of new local powers to tackle coronavirus outbreaks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed that councils will get new powers from Saturday to force owners to shut pubs, cafes, shops and restaurants, close public places such as parks and cancel events.

Permission will no longer be needed from a magistrate to close contaminated premises not deemed to be part of “essential infrastructure”, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Matt Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health said: “As we move into the next phase of tackling the virus, it is really important that we are able to act quickly on a very local basis to stop the spread of outbreaks and put in place appropriate measures. We have the local knowledge, expertise and networks that are needed.

“Identifying local flare ups will get faster as the quality and speed of the data that we are getting improves, and people will see testing stations popping up now and again near their house in the coming months as we seek to control the spread. These new measures will also help us.

“Our strong and effective relationships with schools, care homes, hospitals, businesses, and wider voluntary, community and faith sector is already providing us with fantastic intelligence which is helping greatly in our response.

“Even now lockdown has eased, we need everyone to continue to follow the advice around hand hygiene, keeping our distance, avoiding crowds and covering our faces in shops and confined spaces, and to isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.”

“If everyone follows the guidance we can continue to control the spread and minimise the impact on ourselves and our loved ones, and we can avoid the need for another lockdown, something none of us want. True success will be us not needing to draw on these new local powers.”

For the latest advice and guidance on coronavirus, visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus