It’s not looking good, is it? Warrington, Halton and Merseyside all put under more stringent coronavirus restrictions and Cheshire’s council leaders warning us we could be next.

Cheshire East Council leader Sam Corcoran, CEC said the rise in infections across the region over the past few weeks was is something that needed to be addressed if Cheshire was to avoid going down the same path as its neighbours with increased restrictions being imposed on Cheshire.

He added: “Covid-19 remains a real threat, even more so now that it’s right on our doorstep.

“Our best defence is to be rigorous about simple prevention measures – wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, don’t touch your face and maintain social distancing.

“Now is not a time to be complacent. We all must think about the consequences of our actions and carefully consider avoiding situations where we are exposed to other households and larger numbers of people for any length of time.”

His sentiments were echoed by Cheshire West and Chester leader Cllr Louise Gittins.

She said: “Many people have been observing public health guidance since lockdown was lifted and we have done well to make changes to our lives but we cannot be complacent. Now is the time to redouble our efforts.

“We are seeing a big rise in case numbers and at this rate local lockdown restrictions in Cheshire West are possible, as are increased risks to the health of local people.

“This rise is particularly the case with young people.

“We need their support to get us back on track but all our residents and businesses have the opportunity to turn this tide.

“We can make the difference. But we need to act now or our progress will be lost.”

Northwich Guardian:

But why are cases suddenly starting to rise, and so dramatically in some areas?

I think it’s true to say I’m not an epidemiologist or a social psychologist but it seems to me the government should shoulder the greatest responsibility, rather than seeking to blame young people or those living in multi-generational households.

Let’s rewind a little shall we to the time of the big lockdown.

We were all told the rules and we all stuck to them. We clapped for carers, we kept our distance and we worked from home when we could.

We all felt we were in it together. There was solidarity and clear messaging.

And then government special adviser Dominic Cummings drove to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.

Here was a man at least in part responsible for drawing up the rules who just blatantly ignored them and he went unpunished.

I think history will be able to conclude that one incident was the point at which the government started to lose control of the message.

One rule for the ‘elite’ and one rule for us plebs.

It was obvious that after months of lockdown and the economy falling off the edge of cliff, there would have to be some relaxation of the restrictions and we were given three key messages:

1, Stop working from home and get back to your offices.

2, Eat out to help out. Yes, the Rishi meal deals became a thing.

3, Social distancing changed to one metre plus.

Taken together, the clear message was that things were getting back to normal but perhaps it’s that last one that’s most problematic.

The change from social distancing of two metres to one metre plus was intended to allow people to start using public transport again.

The ‘plus’ bit referred to the mitigating factors such as wearing a face covering but inevitably, that part of the message was lost.

What many people took away from all of this was get back out there, buy your Pret a Manger lunch, go out for a discount meal and stand as close as you like to other people so long as you wash your hands while singing Happy Birthday twice.

Any wonder then that people happily obliged.

Hey, if Boris says we can go back to work, to the pub and get close to people, let’s do it.

Of course, the relaxation in lockdown was predicated on a ‘world-beating’ Test and Trace system whereby any local spikes could be quickly clamped down on.

And we all know how that worked out don’t we?

I mean, who would have thought that schools reopening, students going back to university and offices starting to get workers back would lead to increased demand for Covid-19 testing?

Well just about anyone other than the people actually running Test and Trace it would appear.

Here’s a radical thought. Maybe it’s time to stop pumping taxpayers’ money into private companies that aren’t up to the job and give it to the NHS and public health professionals instead.