New measures including surge testing and maximising vaccine uptake will be rolled out in Birmingham, Liverpool and Cheshire to tackle the Delta Covid variant, it has been announced.
The package also includes additional support in Birmingham, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Liverpool City Region and Warrington to slow down the spread of the concerning strain.
Anyone living in those areas is being urged not to travel.
The Covid-19 strain, which was first identified in India, has contributed to an increase in the number of new infections and is expected to draw the brakes on the Government’s plans to lift the final lockdown measures on June 21.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce that his lockdown roadmap will be delayed by four weeks at a Downing Street conference which will take place on Monday at 6pm.
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The new support is the same package which was rolled out in Greater Manchester and Lancashire last Tuesday, and in Bolton which has since seen a drop in cases.
An increase in testing, isolation and vaccinations is hoped will curb and control the spread of the virus and variants in both the short and longer term.
People are also being reminded to continue to stick to the existing guidance such as hands, face, space and fresh air.
Those who live or work in Birmingham, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Liverpool City Region and Warrington are also being urged to minimise the amount of travelling they do in and out of the affected areas.
The guidance is the same as that already set out for eight areas including Greater Manchester and Hounslow.
Local councils and health authorities are teaming up to carry out door-to-door surge testing which may also involve assistance from military personnel or workers from other agencies.
The extra support is being rolled out in the following local authorities:
- Birmingham City Council
- Blackpool Council
- Cheshire East Council
- Cheshire West and Chester Council
- Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (Halton Borough Council, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Liverpool City Council, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council, St Helens Council and Wirral Borough Council)
- Warrington Borough Council
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are doing everything we can to stop the spread of the Delta variant, and working with local authorities, we are providing a strengthened package of support in areas where cases of the variant are increasing.
“We know this approach has made a real impact in South London and in Bolton where we have seen it stall rising cases.
“I urge people living these areas to get tested, come forward for your vaccine as soon as you are eligible and make sure to get the all-important second jab – that is how we will beat this virus.”
Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, added: “The Delta variant is now the dominant strain across the UK, with cases continuing to rise in some areas.
“People in these areas can help protect their community by remaining cautious, by working from home if possible and remembering to practise hands, face, space and fresh air.
“Getting the vaccine gives a strong level of protection against this variant and I strongly recommend that everyone gets both jabs when the NHS invites you – it will protect you and your loved ones.”
The news comes as Public Health England revealed the Delta is now in every council except one.
The only area that has not recorded any case of the Delta variant is the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall, PHE told Mail Online.
Bolton has been the worst affected area in the country with 3,896 cases.
PHE estimates the strain is 60 per cent more transmissible compared with the previously dominant Alpha, or Kent, variant, and that cases are doubling every four-and-a-half days in some parts of England.