SERIOUS concerns over how the Government’s coronavirus track and trace scheme will work in Southend have been raised by council chiefs.

The Government has spearheaded a system aimed at finding people who came in close contact with those infected with Covid-19.

Initial plans were to roll out a phone app which uses location data, but instead the Government is planning to do it manually.

>> Is Southend approaching second wave of coronavirus? R-Value creeps up in town

If a person tests positive for the virus, they will be contacted to discuss who they have come into contact with and will be ordered to self-isolate.

But council bosses in Southend have raised concerns.

Ron Woodley, the council’s deputy leader, said: “If I go to the beach then go home and feel unwell, get tested and find out I have coronavirus, they will come to me and say who have you been around. On Southend beach how am I supposed to track that?

“It will be okay if you have only been in contact within the bubble of people around you but if you have been to the beach where there could be 20,000 people on the High Street, how will you do it?

“Do you go out and hold a big banner saying I’ve got Covid-19, I was on the beach and if you were too you better contact your local hospital?”

His concerns were echoed by councillor Martin Terry, who oversees public safety.

“I can see a lot of difficulties with a town like Southend,” he said.

“You have the local population as well as visitors to think about.

“I am sceptical about how it will work in a town where we also have so many commuters going to and from London. I see real issues with this.”

The Government has also said that it expects local authorities to be heavily involved in how the track and trace system works but it is understood that despite the public announcement, limited guidance has been given.

Councillor Trevor Harp, who oversees adult social care and health, explained the authority has been directed to produce a “virus control plan” that will outline how the council will work with communities and businesses to develop measures to support the track and trace system.

It will also outline how the authority will ensure testing takes place.

“Contact tracing is an important part of ensuring areas like Southend can both adapt to the relaxation measures being announced, and safely open up for more business and activity in a safe way,” he added.

“There is an expectation locally elected councillors will have a role to play, which will ensure public transparency.

“In Southend we expect to do this working with and through the health and wellbeing board.”