People in Covid hotspots should continue to limit socialising and meet outdoors where possible, the Department of Health said today.
Eleven areas in England, including Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Brighton, have been identified as needing extra support, which is set to continue.
Following the lifting of Covid restrictions across the country, despite soaring cases, hospitalisations and deaths, people in targeted areas are being told to be cautious.
Yesterday’s Freedom Day saw social distancing rules scrapped, but Boris Johnson has urged people to continue to be careful.
Although people in targeted areas are no longer being told to keep two metres apart, there are a raft of other guidelines the government is calling on people to follow.
These include wearing face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport; meeting outdoors where possible; letting fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces, and considering minimising the number, proximity and duration of social meetings.
The areas identified are:
- Bedford Borough Council
- Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
- Blackpool Council
- Cheshire East Council
- Brighton and Hove City Council
- Cheshire West and Chester Council
- Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
- Lancashire County Council (Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
- Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral)
- Oxford City Council
- Warrington Borough Council
These areas have additional testing capacity, as well as support to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
Local authorities are also urged to work with schools to provide on-site testing.
Extra support deployed in Birmingham last month is being scaled back – as encouraging data shows the Covid growth rate has slowed.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “As we carefully tread the path on our roadmap and move closer to normal life, we have been guided by the data to pinpoint areas that have needed additional support to beat back the growth of COVID-19 cases.
“Working with local authorities and their directors of public health, we are managing the rising number of cases with more testing, more vaccinations and more local contact tracing.
“We will continue to support local areas and encourage people to protect themselves and loved ones by getting jabbed. Vaccines are building a wall of protection around us all and we must all enjoy our restored freedoms with caution.”
In a statement the Department of Health said: “The vaccines are helping prevent over 8 million infections and have saved thousands of lives in England.
“The vaccination programme has substantially weakened the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths. Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms and even more unlikely to get serious Covid-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it and there is growing evidence that they are less likely to pass the virus to others.”