Date issued: 11 March 2020
Colchester Borough Council leader, Councillor Mark Cory, provided the following statement at tonight’s (Wednesday) Cabinet meeting:
“I am sure everyone knows from the continuing media coverage the situation around Covid-19 is a fast-moving and developing issue internationally, nationally and locally. This afternoon it has been labelled as pandemic by World Health Organisation.
“The response to tackling the spread of the virus nationally is being led by the Government and Public Health England and it must be remembered that to date (Wednesday 11 March) there has only been six confirmed cases in Essex out of a population of 1.5million people.
“However, I want to reassure everyone here tonight and across the borough that Colchester Borough Council is taking its responsibilities very seriously to help prevent the spread of this virus.
“As you would expect, we are monitoring the situation closely in conjunction with Essex County Council, the Essex Resilience Forum and other partners.
“We reviewed our Pandemic Flu Plan with senior managers earlier this month and are reviewing and increasing the cleaning of public places and making preparations to ensure we are able to continue delivering critical services for our residents during this period.
“As part of this process we will continue to review and assess any potential economic impacts of the virus to both the council and the borough as a whole and we are setting aside some of our reserves to mitigate any financial impact the council may face.
“Guidance has been sent to managers about staff absence, travel, protecting health and hygiene, all in line with advice from Public Health England. Managers have been asked to raise any concerns with members of the Senior Management Team.
“We are ensuring our staff are regularly kept up to date on issues and of the arrangements and support available for anyone needing to self-isolate due to the virus.
“We have added a link from our website to the latest national guidance and advice and have produced and displayed posters reminding people of the key public health hygiene messages at our public facilities and attractions like Leisure World, Town Hall and Castle as well as in public toilets.
“In its budget today, the Government has announced an emergency respond fund to support the NHS and other public services and other initiatives designed to help people, businesses and organisations affected by the virus.
“We will continue to monitor the advice and guidance from the Government and keep reviewing the actions we are taking to ensure they are appropriate and proportionate. I would also encourage all residents to follow the public health messages around the steps they can take to prevent the spread of this virus.”