Dear resident,

I have never written to anyone on a more important subject. I would ask that you please take a moment to read this message.

We are facing the biggest challenge of our times. Coronavirus is a killer. If we do nothing, 500,000 people across our great country will die.

But that horrendous outcome will not happen, provided we act.

The Government has issued good advice. But not all of us are following it.

This is not good enough. We MUST heed the advice from Government.

It is simple. And it is in our hands.

STAY HOME. SAVE LIVES.

Across Essex this weekend, we have seen people behaving in a way which was very much like going about their usual business.

I will be blunt. This is not acceptable.

We MUST socially distance.

Even though some schools across Essex will stay open, you should ONLY take your children to them, if you have been notified that you are a critical worker AND if you absolutely have NO other option.

The NHS

If the epidemic peaks, as it has in Italy, which has a world-class health system, the NHS will be overwhelmed.

We must not allow the ‘peak’ of the epidemic to outstrip the NHS’s capacity to care.

Every single one of us can ensure that this nightmare scenario does not happen.

In China, and South Korea, the spread of the virus has been kept in check because Governments have acted quickly enough, and people have followed advice. We must follow suit. Our great County of Essex has always risen to the challenges over the decades. This is the greatest one of our times.

Please, follow the advice. Stay Home. Save Lives. #StayHomeSaveLives

Cllr David Finch, Leader, Essex County Council

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health, Essex County Council