The Epping Forest District Council leader claims that too many people are refusing to follow coronavirus restrictions during the second lockdown.

Cllr Chris Whitbread, leader of the council, is appealing for people to not overlook the “serious” Covid-19 situation in Epping Forest as people flout restrictions.

His warning states that Epping Forest has consistently had the highest infection rates in Essex during 2020.

Cllr Whitbread said: “So far in this second national lockdown, it is apparent that too many people in our district are refusing to follow the rules.

“Not enough people are wearing masks, social distancing, or isolating themselves when they have the disease. On social media we read a stream of Covid-sceptic comments and anger at those people trying to get the scientific messages across.

“I know that people are tired of the restrictions. We do not give up our personal freedoms and liberties lightly!”

The leader explained that most recent statistics show Covid continues to be “rife” in the community.

He said: “To suppress the spread of the virus we must stay at home, only leaving home when we have to, and always in accordance with the government guidelines.

“Those who continue to bend or break the rules now have a choice. Help us to reduce the infection rate back to something nearer the Essex average by 2 December or risk an extended lockdown through Christmas.

“Not everyone is breaking the rules. I want to thank everyone who is taking the precautions seriously. Your sacrifices are saving lives and helping the recovery. But it’s up to each and every one of us.”

In recent months Essex County Council warned that the county was seeing alarming Covid-19 rates, which forced the council to call for a Tier 2 coronavirus alert-level shortly after the system was introduced, and weeks before the four-week national lockdown was announced.

There has since been a continuous call for people in Epping Forest to abide to any restrictions set out.