Hertfordshire could come out of the second coronavirus lockdown with tougher restrictions than what it went in with.

That is according to Hertfordshire’s Director of Public Health Jim McManus, who said cases are “worse than what I’d like” in the county.

Speaking in a Covid-19 briefing yesterday (November 18), Mr McManus explained that residents are the “architects of whether or not we come out of this with further restrictions or lesser restrictions”.

“We have a window of opportunity and how we use that opportunity is up to each and every one of us,” he said.

Hertfordshire was placed in tier 1 of the Government's three tier alert system before the second national lockdown was imposed.

It meant people from different households could mix indoors, while measures such as the rule of six were imposed.

Mr McManus believes there are three scenarios Hertfordshire could face when emerging from lockdown.

He said: “Scenario one is that nationally the restrictions in tiers have changed and we all find ourselves in tougher restrictions because they are needed to continue supressing the virus.

“Scenario two is we come back into existing restrictions at tier 1, but that is dependent on people, exhausted though everybody is, keeping faith and minimising social interaction.

“This period of lockdown is supposed to be stay at home unless you have a very strong reason to go out. It isn’t keep going about your normal business as if nothing's changed.

“The other scenario is that if we don’t get the yield, quite a lot of England, including Hertfordshire, will come out of this in tougher restrictions than we went into it.”

Mr McManus said he hoped the second lockdown would reduce cases by 40 per cent.

Speaking about cases, Mr McManus said Hertfordshire “is not as bad as many other areas”.

“But to me that’s very little consolation,” he said.

"They’re worse than I’d like, they are within our planning projections, but they are worse than I’d like because, I don’t want them to be this high.

“I’d like us to be the county that keeps this under control.

"In terms of the lockdown, it seems clear to me that the scientific community is in some kind of disagreement about this and my navigation through the science is the first lockdown gave us yields of about 70 per cent reduction in infections, the pooled modelling from various sources, including the modelling with Public Health England and the University of Cambridge suggests we’ll get 40 per cent if we're lucky this time, so there is no wiggle room.

"We have a choice; we either ignore these restrictions and ease off, and we will see infections rise, rise and rise and we’ll be in restrictions for some time, or we knuckle down and take a bit of the pain - and a lot of people are tired though they are doing that - and we can come out of this quicker."