LEADERS from across Cheshire have vowed to work together to provide an effective collective response should a second coronavirus wave hit the county.

Representatives from Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Halton Council and Warrington Borough Council have met virtually to establish a strong partnership to combat the continuing threat from Covid-19.

They have formed a new outbreak response co-ordination group, alongside Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner and the chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, to ensure a unified approach to manage any potential outbreaks.

The group’s work is also supported by local public health teams and other key frontline staff, and involves the sharing of information on local outbreaks and lockdowns and reviewing the virus’ spread across Cheshire

Members will learn from partners’ experiences on how best to respond to outbreaks and will discuss how best to protect the local economy.

Each council has published an outbreak management plan for their area, which sets out how they will prevent and manage local outbreaks of Covid-19 as they occur in communities.

Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and chair of Cheshire Covid-19 Outbreak Response Co-ordination Group, said: “This virus does not recognise local authority boundaries.

“We have a great experience of collaboration between councils and other partners, which is now more important than ever before.

“We are meeting regularly to share information and learning and will help each other tackle outbreaks as they occur, supporting all the organisations and communities working together to defeat this terrible virus.

“Our collective aspiration is to make Cheshire Covid-free.”

One of the key challenges councils say they have faced has been receiving the necessary data and information from national agencies, enabling local public health teams to quickly combat outbreaks immediately as they occur.

Leaders have called on national government to ensure better and more timely information be given to local public health teams, more local control over testing, clarity over local powers and more funding for local organisations to support responses.

The leaders also requested everyone play their part in keeping themselves and their communities safe.

Protect yourself and your family and friends by getting a coronavirus test if you have symptoms of a persistent cough, fever or loss of taste and smell by calling 119 or visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus

Protect your community by then self-isolating for 14 days if you have symptoms or if alerted to do so by a contact tracer.