Fringe Box



Elmbridge Council Reacts to Covid Tier 2 Status

Published on: 20 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 23 Oct, 2020

Cllr Stuart Selleck

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Elmbridge’s council leader has warned residents to be prepared: higher Covid-19 restrictions could be long-term.

It was announced on Thursday (Oct 15) that the Surrey borough would move from the lowest tier, medium, up to the next level, high alert, from Saturday.

Council leader Stuart Selleck said yesterday (Oct 19) he did not want people to expect this to last only until the next review in two weeks.

He said: “Bear in mind other parts of the country have had restrictions for two or three months. This is not a short-term decision one way or the other. We have to view it in terms of a much longer-term.”

He is not against accepting the severest restrictions of tier three, if the situation does not improve.

He said: “Lancashire’s done it, Liverpool’s done it, because they recognise that the pain that their residents have gone through unfortunately has not had the desired effect, so you have to react.”

The Borough of Elmbridge borders Guildford Borough directly to the north east.

But Cllr Selleck, also leader of Molesey Residents’ Association, was not surprised by the move, he was perplexed because residents had been observant of the rules of six, he said. “No one has put a finger on why” the number of cases in Elmbridge has continued to rise.

“I go around Molesey and I think, how can this be happening in Elmbridge? The vast majority were adhering and over-adhering to tier one restrictions, so we are surprised that this information’s coming through, that Elmbridge has been put into the higher category.”

But the numbers are rising and so doing nothing was not an option – and if he fought a move to a higher tier “it would be imposed anyway,” he said.

“If you get to a level where your gut instinct says, hang on this is getting out of control, for whatever reason, action has to be taken urgently.

“You can’t stick your head in the sand.”

He added: “There is no way we could turn round to the government and say, you’ve got this totally wrong, because there is no evidence to prove that one way or another.

“There’s a certain generation that, even though we’re only in tier two, they’re very worried. That nervousness has to be addressed.”

Councillor Christine Elmer, portfolio holder for community and corporate development, said there was a wide range of views in the borough, with some wanting full lockdown and others distrusting the numbers.

She said: “It’s a balancing act all the time; you’ve got residents on the one hand wanting more restrictions, and you’ve got others that actually think it’s gone too far already. It’s a really tough line to call.”

University cities of Exeter (rate per 100,000 population is 1,160) and Oxford (1,172) remain in tier one yet both their rates surpass tier two Elmbridge (790) and London (average 820).

An Elmbridge Council spokesperson said: “It’s not just the numbers, it’s direction of travel, NHS impact, contact-tracing intelligence, lots of other factors. It’s also not just contained within one certain area of Elmbridge.”

Cllr Selleck added: “It’s unfortunately spread right across the demographic, it’s not one particular age group that’s had all the effect.

“At what stage does tier three kick in, I don’t know.

“I don’t know what powers I, or any leader, have to resist. There’s no point in having confrontation, because that doesn’t achieve anything for the residents.”

He urged people to follow the restrictions: “We want residents to understand the severity of the situation we’re all in.

“If they are responsible and have confidence that we’re helping them, then we’ll get through this very quickly, If they don’t, well we won’t.”

Tier two means households are banned from mixing indoors – not only in people’s homes but also in pubs and restaurants.


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Responses to Elmbridge Council Reacts to Covid Tier 2 Status

  1. Zulaika Mittal Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    Could it be that university students from Surrey, at various universities in the UK, who have given their home addresses in Surrey, get tested at their local universities? If so, any positive infection results from these students increase the number of positives in Surrey, instead of the universities where they are based.

    Just a thought. If that is so then it would explain why, in some areas, Surrey’s rate is high.

    A SCC spokesperson said: “Students leaving home in Elmbridge, testing positive elsewhere and that being reported as Elmbridge data only accounts for 14% of cases, which does not substantially change the escalating trend seen there.”

  2. Maureen Littleboy Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    One reason the numbers are rising is a false statistic. Students whose home is in Elmbridge, but are at university in different areas and test positive, and have not registered with a local GP are counted as being in Elmbridge adding to the daily case numbers.

    A SCC spokesperson said: “Students leaving home in Elmbridge, testing positive elsewhere and that being reported as Elmbridge data only accounts for 14% of cases, which does not substantially change the escalating trend seen there.”

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