Councils carry out local lockdown exercise to prepare for possible second spike

Preparations are underway to tackle a potential second spike in Covid-19 infections as councils, police and health authorities took part in a major training exercise.

The exercise saw Southend Council working alongside Thurrock and Essex County Council to prepare for several scenarios that could occur in the event of a local lockdown.

It aimed to test the strength of local outbreak plans that outline the measures the authorities will take if cases rise high enough to require a lockdown, like the one seen in Leicester.

Councillor Anne Jones (Lab) called the countywide exercise “vital” in preventing the spread of the virus.

She said: “The exercise is a vital part of our preventative work as we seek to control the spread of coronavirus locally and across Essex.”

Southend’s local outbreak plan was published in July.

It lays out how the council will use contact tracing to monitor infections in schools, care homes, workplaces and among vulnerable groups.

If outbreaks are detected, the authority has the power to shut down businesses, roads or entire sections of the borough.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter