With Thurrock now having the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in the country, Council Leader Cllr Rob Gledhill is calling on residents to make sure they are doing all they can to slow the rate of infection and to protect each other and the NHS.
Cllr Gledhill said: "The situation in Thurrock is now more serious than it has ever been and we all need to play our part to stop the spread of infection and protect the NHS.
"We are dealing with a new strain of the virus which is over 70% more infectious than the original coronavirus. In Thurrock it has caused a massive increase in the number of people infected, especially in the 11 to 18 year-old age range, and unless we all take action it will continue to spread.
"Right now more than one in a 100 people in Thurrock have COVID-19. If it continues spreading at this rate it will be one in 50 before the New Year.
"When we came out of lockdown just 3 weeks ago, 206 per 100,000 tested positive. Today that figure has increased 6-fold to 1,196.
"I am again calling on all residents to do more to slow the spread of coronavirus.
"What we have learned over the weekend changes everything. The new strain of virus is passed on easier from person to person – putting more residents at risk of contracting the virus.
"Thurrock is facing a situation every bit as grave as that which we faced in March this year and we must all react appropriately.
"We all need to be cautious, only make journeys if they are absolutely essential and abide by the government advice for tier 4 restrictions.
"We must now all act as if everyone we come in contact with has the virus and do everything we can to limit our exposure to it. By taking hands, face, space advice seriously, irrespective of location, and isolating when required we can become part of the solution.
"Being in tier 4 with the highest infection rate in the country isn’t something we can ignore. We all need to take personal responsibility to help reduce the pressure on the NHS."