The leader of Epping Forest District Council has published a statement to residents concerning the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Chris Whitbread, said that this is one of the most important messages he has ever wrote as district council leader.

As of Tuesday, March 24, 422 people in UK have died after being tested for Covid-19, with a further 8,077 cases were confirmed positive.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow confirmed their first patient to die after being tested for the disease, a person in their 80s with underlying health conditions, on Monday, March 23.

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The message from Cllr Whitbread reads: “The Prime Minister’s announcement, last night, has moved things onto a much more serious footing and I must reinforce the crucial message to stay safe, stay home, save lives.

“Taking this advice on board we’ve decided to temporarily suspend face-to-face contact and shut our reception points across all council service areas until further notice. All services will still be available to residents online or over the phone.

“Many in our communities must go out to work, keeping essential services running … our NHS workers and emergency services and key workers. Many of them our own council staff.

“But those of us who don’t have to work please, please observe the new government directive:

• Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work

• Stay two metres (six foot) away from other people

• Wash your hands as soon as you get home

“Make no mistake, we are facing the biggest challenge of our times. Coronavirus is a killer and unless we stay home half a million people will die.

“We are updating our website daily and have introduced a Community Helpline – 01992 564088 – for elderly and vulnerable residents who are not comfortable with accessing social media or the Internet.

“Working together with our communities and partners we will get through this … and life will eventually return to normal.”

Stay Safe … Stay Home … Save Lives

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