Hertsmere is likely to remain on the national watchlist as an ‘area of concern’ despite the number of new cases dropping by more than half this week.

The borough is believed to continue to be listed as an ‘area of concern’ by Public Health England after it was declared last week (September 11).

An update earlier this week showed that the rate of new cases in Hertsmere in the seven days to September 12 dropped to 28.6 per 100,000 – which is over a half less than what it was up to September 5 (62.9).

While the figures appear promising, Hertfordshire’s director of public health Jim McManus believes that the virus is still circulating in Hertsmere despite the significant decrease in cases.

He said: “I do not believe the government will remove us from the national watchlist this week, because if people abandon the key measures like two-metre distancing, handwashing, washing face coverings and staying at home with symptoms, numbers will just rise again very quickly.”

If Hertsmere were to be removed from the list, it is believed it would be announced on a Friday.

Currently, Hertsmere has dropped down to the 88th local authority with the highest coronavirus rise.

Earlier this month Hertsmere was rated the seventh highest authority in England, and at the time when it was declared an ‘area of concern’, Hertsmere dropped to 33rd due to a surge in new cases in northern England and in the Midlands.

In the days up to September 12, there were 30 new cases – which is more than half than the previous update of 66 new cases.

Mr McManus continued: “Although the numbers in Hertsmere have dropped, and the government has said our joint plan is robust and proactive, the virus is still circulating in Hertsmere.

“People in Hertsmere and agencies like the borough council are doing an amazing job. But we need to keep this up otherwise we will lose the ground we have made. Let’s keep going and suppress this virus.”

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Hertsmere coronavirus rate drops after being put on watchlist

Hertsmere listed as 'area of concern'

Hertfordshire, like other places across the UK, has been affected by testing shortages meaning some people have been unable to book a test or have to travel outside their local area.

The public health director explained that while the government is responsible for testing, the county council is working to help them maintain testing provision in Hertfordshire.

To achieve this, the county council is increasing key worker testing to ensure that enough tests are kept separately for the general public.