…That’s the stark message from Knowsley Council Leader Graham Morgan in response to Knowsley being identified as the area of the UK with the highest current rates of COVID-19.
As of 25 September, the rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in Knowsley is 279.9 which puts the area at the top of the national table and makes it more likely than ever that further local restrictions will come into force in the coming days.
Cllr Morgan said: “We have been watching with alarm the rate at which our case numbers are increasing here. We are at a crucial point. Coming into the winter months, we have to do all that we possibly can to stem the spread of COVID-19, before the situation becomes even more worrying.
“The experience earlier this year was that cases increased and that this was followed by an increase in hospitalisations and deaths. We are now starting to see hospital admissions increasing. If ever there was a time to take this virus seriously – then it’s now.”
He added: “The virus is out of control in Knowsley and we need to do something quickly to address the spread. Lockdown light” has been confusing and difficult to enforce. We need the Government to consider going further here as our virus rates are alarmingly high.
“Nobody wants to go back to a long-term lockdown like earlier this year so the “circuit breaker” option of a short lockdown, with clear rules, might disrupt the spread of the virus enough to help us regain some control.
“I know that this would be difficult for so many people but the consequences of not following the rules will be even more difficult for families and individuals to bear if the virus is allowed to go unchecked.”
Cllr Morgan, along with all other Liverpool City Region local authority Leaders and Chief Executives met with the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty on Monday evening to discuss the next steps in tackling the spread of the virus.
These conversations included discussions around household mixing being prohibited but the Government is yet to confirm its plan for Knowsley and the region as a whole.
Cllr Morgan said: “Our response has to be based on measures that will be effective. We pressed hard for the Chief Medical Officer to take an approach which is based on the science.
“Taking away people’s freedom of choice or potentially closing down parts of the economy doesn’t come without a cost and in Knowsley we are acutely aware of that. So we will also fight hard to ensure our residents do not suffer unfairly and that local businesses and jobs will be supported. We will need the Government’s support with this and we have made that clear in our conversations with them.
“In the meantime we can act now. We can stop and think about our actions and all play our part in stopping this horrendous virus from taking hold and destroying more lives. I am calling upon everyone in Knowsley and across the City Region to step up and play their part.”