The national coronavirus lockdown has been “doing its job” in Hertfordshire, the county’s director of public health has said.

Jim McManus said that the November lockdown was “needed” to see a downward trend of cases in the county.

Mr McManus had been speaking in a press briefing on Friday, the day after the announcement that Hertfordshire would be placed in Tier 2 when the country comes out of lockdown on December 2.

Before the announcement, Mr McManus told the media that the past week’s data would show how much of an impact lockdown has had on the spread of Covid-19 in Hertfordshire.

The latest Government figures shows that cases in all 10 districts in the county have seen a drop in the seven days to November 23.

And two areas – Stevenage and North Hertfordshire – have now dropped just below 100 cases per 100,000 population, with Dacorum and St Albans close to dropping below the mark as well.

Mr McManus said on Friday: “My view would be, pessimistic though I was, that the lockdown is doing its job, I think.

“We needed this to kind of start it (drop in cases). The task is, can we keep this going?”

He explained that restrictions in Tier 2 such as a ban on different households mixing indoors “will deliver some yield in some of our largest populations who are getting infected”.

“So, I think that’s a hopeful sign because the measures are different and they have been tweaked,” Mr McManus said.

“You add that together with our continuing work on retail, safer shopping, safer restaurants and hospitality, that should deliver the results we want.

“This is unless people decide to abandon the behaviours, but what we know in Hertfordshire is that the bulk of our residents have focussed on doing what they can do safely.”

Despite a drop of cases in Hertfordshire during the lockdown, Hertfordshire County Council leader David Williams said it is "highly unlikely" Hertfordshire will drop down to Tier 1 before Christmas - adding any change in tiers may not be for some time.

Watford Observer:

David Williams

Cllr Williams said: "Tier 2 is about being able to hold infection rates during this winter period.

"The really positive news is the extent of our case rates which have come down in Hertfordshire. Just about a week ago, we were looking at a rate of around 170 cases per 100,000 population, which has now come down to 136, so it has come down rapidly.

"We were heading upwards pretty quickly in September and October and that was a consequence of Tier 1.

"We need to see how the newly refined Tier 2 works for us and whether we can still see a reduction in numbers over that period."