A CRACK team is being set up to help push testing, contact tracing and plan for regional Covid-19 outbreaks.

An outbreak control board is being organised at county level in a bid to make sure the public is kept abreast of any outbreaks and the response to them.

The national Test and Trace service, launched on May 28, is designed to control the rate of reproduction of Covid-19 by reducing the spread of the infection.

But Essex County Council is expected to develop regional outbreak control plans by the end of June.

It is hoped the plan will allow local authorities to work with the national test and trace service, so the regional system is geared up to properly contain the virus.


Basildon Council deputy leader and Essex County councillor, Kerry Smith, said: “Having this type of crack team or anything which could help ready us for a potential second wave is definitely welcome. It’s fantastic this is something that is in the works.

“However, what we desperately now need is the government minister Robert Jenrick to honour his commitment to fully fund local authorities through this outbreak.

“He promised to pay whatever is needed - we have seen some but definitely not all. This way if there is a second wave we can actually support our community.

“It will mean we’ll be able to help those who shield and that we can support our local services. This will be vital.”

Details have not been finalised by Essex County Council but other authorities have planned around seven themes.

These include a system around planning for outbreaks in care homes and schools, and identifying and planning how to manage other high risk places, locations and communities of interest.

Other councils have also prioritised identifying methods for local testing to ensure a swift response that is accessible to the entire population, assessing regional contact tracing and infection control capability in complex settings, and the need for mutual aid.

They also look to be integrating national and local data and scenario planning from the new Joint Biosecurity Centre. It is hoped this will support vulnerable people to get help to self-isolate should they need to and ensure services meet the needs of diverse communities.