The leader of Enfield Council has urged people to stay at home after soaring Covid-19 infection rates sparked a new national lockdown.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan outlined the help on offer from the council for residents and businesses during the lockdown – and added that enforcement teams had been deployed to catch rule-breakers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new England-wide lockdown on Monday, meaning non-essential businesses have been forced to close and people are only allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons.

Enfield had the fifth-highest Covid-19 infection rate in London the week to January 1 – 1,227 cases per 100,000 people, according to Public Health England data.

Cllr Caliskan said: “In the lockdown, we are still available for people to speak to us if they find themselves in difficulty because of food. We have consistently had that service.

“We are rolling out business grants that were announced by the Government. We will be getting them out as soon as possible.

“We have just opened the sixth test centre, and we are trying to encourage as many people as possible to get a test – even if they are asymptomatic.”

The council leader said rapid tests had been made available for schools, which are currently open only to vulnerable children and the children of key workers. With the digital divide posing the “biggest challenge”, she added that the council had offered to help with the distribution of laptops from the Government to aid remote learning.

“We have our ongoing hardship fund, and we have increased our enforcement,” Cllr Caliskan explained. “We have increased the presence of Covid marshals in our town centres. Tier 4 was more difficult to enforce, but I think this lockdown is going to be easier. We will increase patrols.

“For those on the shielding list, we have regularly rung everyone. The call centre has been active, and we call people regularly to say, ‘do you need anything?’ We will do all that again.

“On care homes, it is worrying that Covid numbers have increased. I don’t know how much more stringent we can be. We are trying to get the vaccine in care homes as soon as possible.

“Our message is: stay at home. We are well over 1,000 cases in every 1,000 people now. They have not got hold of the virus at the moment. The only solution is to stay at home.”

More information on local support available during the lockdown is available here:

Details on Enfield’s Covid-19 testing centres are here:

Information for businesses can be found here:

For more details on the national lockdown guidelines, go to: