We may be 'heading for Tier 3 - or higher' - council leader's stark warning

David Ellesmere, leader of the Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere says Suffolk has received a 'wake-up call' - Credit: Su Anderson

When it was first announced that Suffolk would go into Tier 2, there was a general feeling that we had only just missed out on being in Tier 1 and that, in all likelihood, we would be moved down in the first review.

We’ve just had that review and it’s now clear that we have been very lucky not to go into Tier 3. This is a measure of how fast things can change when infections spread exponentially.

Cases are high in Ipswich but are also rising fast across the rest of Suffolk. Our hospitals are under severe and increasing pressure.

Remaining in Tier 2 this time should not be seen as a vindication of current measures but a wake-up call that, unless things change, we are heading for Tier 3 – or possibly even higher – when the situation is next reviewed at the end of December.

Before that review, we are going to have the government’s relaxation of rules for Christmas.

Although Boris Johnson has been forced to scale these back – as usual only bowing to the inevitable, long after it has become evident to everyone else that things needed to change – there is still concern about the level of household mixing allowed.

I assume that the rules in Suffolk aren’t going to change again before Friday – although who knows? – so it is down to all of us individually to do what we can to slow the spread.

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We must stick to the rules and not try to push the boundaries.

Hands, Face and Space are still incredibly important.

We need to wash our hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. Wear a face covering when in enclosed spaces outside our homes. Stay two metres apart from people we don’t live with.

And we need to think very carefully about what we do over Christmas. Just because the government says we can mix with two other households on Christmas Day, it doesn’t mean we should.

The best present we can give our loved ones this year is to make the necessary personal sacrifices to keep them safe and well so we can enjoy many better Christmases with them in future.

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