Covid-19 contaminated buildings can be "destroyed" by local authorities under a raft of new powers granted by central government.

Hertfordshire County Council is among hundreds in England and Wales which has the capacity to order the demolition of contaminated buildings to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

It is one among a raft of new measures introduced by government bestowed on local authorities.

The council has the capacity to draw from six separate pieces of legislation, giving it teeth in the fight to contain local outbreaks of the virus.

Recently councils were also granted new powers by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to contain a surge by enforcing so-called "lightning lockdowns".

These new powers give councils in England freedom to respond to outbreaks "where speed is paramount".

It grants the council and others permission to close down businesses, events, and outdoor spaces in the county, without a directive from central government.

Mr Johnson added the new powers should be used “with discretion”.

Should a local outbreak occur, the council can "impose restrictions or requirements to close contaminated premises; close public spaces in the area of the local authority; detain a conveyance or movable structure; disinfect or decontaminate premises; or order that a building, conveyance or structure be destroyed", according to the Covid-19 Contain Framework: a guide for local decision-makers.

However, local authorities must make an application to the Magistrates’ Court for approval to do so.

The demolition directive means, in theory, workspaces, shops, and care homes could be brought down.

Hillingdon Times:

Anyone showing symptoms in Hertfordshire is urged to get a coronavirus test

At this current time, there is no area of concern for the county council in Hertfordshire, with only Watford experiencing a notable uptake in cases.

There were around 17 new cases identified in the borough over a weekly period, but the case rate is now dropping every day.

In a press conference this morning, director of Public Health Hertfordshire, Dr Jim McManus and executive member of public health in Hertfordshire, Cllr Tim Hutchings, praised the public for acting responsibly but urged people, particularly youngsters, to social distance and take precautionary measures like wearing face coverings, as a heatwave approaches.