“The situation here is deteriorating” — that’s the message from the leader of Buckinghamshire Council after he warned the county could soon face tougher coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking at the start of a meeting of the council’s top team this morning (October 13), councillor Martin Tett suggested Buckinghamshire might have to cope with the same tighter rules parts of the Midlands and the North are facing due to an increase in Covid-19 infections in the county.

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This comes after all of Buckinghamshire’s districts are set to be placed into the lowest tier of the government’s new triple-tier coronavirus restrictions system.

But Bucks may soon have to live with rules set out in the two higher tiers if the rate of infection does not stop going up across the area, Cllr Tett claimed.

In a stark warning, Cllr Tett said:

  • The rate of infection in Bucks has risen “significantly” over the past four weeks
  • The southern districts are seeing ‘rapid’ rises in cases
  • This is a “very serious situation” for Bucks
  • Greater restrictions are possible if the rate does not stop climbing
  • This could affect the economy, jobs and people's wellbeing

He said: “Historically we have been a low-prevalence area in terms of infection rates.

“In fact, in August we were seeing some quite low infection rates across the county area.

“More recently, that infection rate has risen significantly over the preceding 3-4 weeks.

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“I regret to tell you that the latest information we have as of Monday indicated that rate of increase had continued and we are now seeing rates that are many times those we had back in August.

“In some cases, as much as ten times as the rate we saw merely four weeks ago.

“This is a very serious situation for Buckinghamshire and for our residents.

“It’s a particularly serious situation in the south of the county, the former district council areas of Wycombe, South Bucks, Chiltern, but the rate is rising now rapidly across the entire geography of Buckinghamshire.

“I would urge all residents watching this and colleagues who are councillors to really make a concerted effort to abide by the rules we have.

“If we do not do so, if we are complacent, if we continue to have too much mixing, particularly with people from outside our households, there is a real danger the rate here will start to reach the sort of levels we are currently seeing in the midlands and even the north of England and the Liverpool area.

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“We do not want to see the restrictions on people’s personal freedoms those sorts of levels might indicate, and also the impact on our local economy, on people’s jobs, on people’s wellbeing.

“I would stress to everybody watching this: the situation here is deteriorating. It is very important we observe the current rules and we do so fastidiously.

“I have seen too many examples where people are complacent and we really do need to observe those rules.

“Otherwise, we are on a trajectory towards the situation that exists in parts of the Midlands and parts of the North of England and I certainly would rather not see that.

“Following on from the government’s announcement yesterday, I think I can confirm fairly comfortably that we are in Tier one. That’s the medium-risk range.

“We are not in the high or very-high risk range but the danger is if this trend continues, we will nudge up into those top categories.”

Cllr Tett said he would be sending out a newsletter with a coronavirus update later today.