COUNCIL leaders in Cheshire say they are getting 'nowhere near enough' data to make sure they are fully on top of potential coronavirus outbreaks.

Public health departments at Cheshire East and West councils, like other authorities across England, are currently receiving information from the Government once a week on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and their home postcode.

The Government is soon set to make postcode-level data available to the public as well as public health officials on a weekly basis – with the aim of eventually updating the numbers daily.

But the Labour leaders of both councils say that those daily figures cannot come soon enough if they are to keep on top of the spread of coronavirus successfully.

Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council – which covers Northwich and Winsford, told the Guardian: "We are calling on the Government to provide real time daily data that is person specific and provides details including place of work.

Knutsford Guardian:

"Providing weekly data hinders the authority’s efforts to immediately identify local outbreaks should they occur.

"If we received information about the number and residence of positive cases more frequently, we would be able to identify outbreaks sooner and be able to protect lives and livelihoods more effectively."

Cllr Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council – which covers Middlewich, Knutsford and Wilmslow, also criticised the data being made available to his council's public health team from Government in a video on Twitter.

He highlighted criticism of the Leicester lockdown from the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which said the city's lockdown was 'predictable and avoidable', with the 'unavailability of data' and a 'lack of coordination' with councils both causes for concern.

Cllr Corcoran added: "Local directors of public health are now getting some data from central Government on local infections but nowhere near enough.

Knutsford Guardian:

"The testing system has been allocated to private companies and does not link in to the normal public health systems, so although lots of tests are being done, the results are not getting to the right places."

Both councils monitor the data they have regularly to identify trends and potential local outbreaks, and both say they would put measures in place to tackle them that are proportionate to the scale of the outbreak.

That means the response would focus on specific areas that are affected by a Covid-19 outbreak, and measures would be put in place to work with individual communities to tackle the problem, with the aim of avoiding a widespread local lockdown like Leicester's.

The Government insists it is giving councils the tools they need in order to do this successfully, and that they are able to access the figures as soon as it is confident they are correct.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are sharing all relevant data with local areas as soon as it is ready.

Knutsford Guardian:

"All councils in England now have the ability to access testing data, right down to individual and postcode level. Public Health England shares this as soon as it has been quality assured and we have been sharing data dashboards with local authorities since June 11.

"We will continue to work constructively with councils to protect the public and save lives."

As the pandemic goes on, Cheshire residents are urged to continue to take care to avoid the coronavirus.

Cllr Gittins said: “It is important we remain cautious in everything we do.

"We must wash our hands, cover our faces in public spaces, avoid large gatherings and self-isolate if we get a new continuous cough, fever or loss of taste and smell."

Anyone who gets coronavirus symptoms should also book a test by calling 119 or visiting