Basildon Council leader Gavin Callaghan has officially lodged a request for schools across the borough to close next week. 

Mr Callaghan's call comes as the borough crept into the top 20 areas most affected by new coronavirus cases. 

The infection rate in Basildon has hit a new high of 290.6 after 544 new cases were confirmed in the latest seven-day period.

It is the highest number of new cases recorded in the borough since the pandemic began.

In a letter to the council he said: "I believe we should be encouraging schools to do the same as universities and end their winter term early.

"They would be able to continue to teach remotely and key workers' children would be able to attend school.


"By taking this action now and encouraging schools to close on December 11 we would give the borough two weeks whereby the most infected age group could self isolate in a controlled environment."

Young people aged up to 19 make up some 20 per cent of new cases in the borough. 

In a letter sent to Essex County Council's public health director, Dr Mike Gogarty, Mr Callaghan calls for all schools to close on December 11.

He also outlines a plan for Basildon's manufacturing workers to be tested for coronavirus twice a week in a bid to keep factories working. 

More to follow