THE LEADER of Shropshire Council has called on residents in the county to follow government advice to get through the latest lockdown.

Councillor Peter Nutting admitted he feels sympathy for residents after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the third 'stay at home' message on Monday night.

The council leader pointed to Shropshire's previous record of reducing transmissions during lockdowns and believes that if residents follow the message, they will do so again.

He said: "This change will have a significant impact on both our residents and local businesses, and we will be doing everything within our power and resources to support them.

“It is important residents and businesses follow the new rules and carefully consider everything they do, making sure they stay at home and limit their contact with people outside their household and support bubbles.

“This news will be extremely upsetting and frustrating for a lot of people who live and work in Shropshire, but we will get through this together.

"If we do the right thing and keep our distance, we cannot spread the infection.

“We are ready to help. Our Shropshire Council Covid-19 Helpline – ‪0345 678 9028 – remains open for anyone that needs additional support.

“We have proven we can get our cases down before and I have every confidence we will do it again. It is important to remember that some people who have Covid-19 will not have symptoms and that a new strain, which spreads more easily, is circulating in the West Midlands.

“People rely on council services more than ever and we will continue to keep essential services running. However, some of our services will be impacted by the government’s restrictions – please check our website and social media channels for the latest information.”

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, added: “We are now seeing infection rates in Shropshire of more than 238 cases per 100,000 people over seven days.

"This is a significant increase from the numbers we were seeing just last week when we moved to Tier 3 and this rate is expected to continue to rise sharply over the next few days.

“I know this is hard to take, especially as people have been stepping up in a big way to try and stop the spread of the virus.

“We all have high hopes for 2021, with the vaccine being rolled out and the promise of some normality returning.

"We can all help by doing the right thing; protecting our community, friends, families, neighbours and most vulnerable people across Shropshire by staying at home. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”