Kirklees residents urged to avoid non-essential travel to stop spread of Covid-19

The Government is urging Kirklees residents to avoid travelling in and out of the district as concerns rise about the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19.

Surge testing is being rolled out across Kirklees
Surge testing is being rolled out across Kirklees

A small number of cases of the new Covid-19 variant, first detected in India, have been identified in Kirklees - and infection rates are rising. Kirklees’ infection rate remains one of the highest in the country.

In updated guidance following fears about how quickly the new variant of the virus spreads from person to person, the Government is telling people in Kirklees to work from home and to take particular caution when meeting anyone outside their own household or support bubble.

Kirklees residents should now:

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council

Meet outside rather than inside where possible.

Keep two metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them) - this includes friends and family you don’t live with.

Work from home if you can.

Avoid travelling in and out of the area unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education.

The latest Government guidance is also asking people in Kirklees to get tested twice a week for free and isolate if they test positive.

People should also get vaccinated when they are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well.

Government announced last week that surge testing and additional vaccinations will be introduced to Kirklees and a number of other areas with higher Covid-19 infection rates.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “Rates of infection in Kirklees have been rising in recent weeks and there are concerns nationally about the new variant which was first detected in India.

“There is no evidence to suggest this variant causes more severe illness than any other variant currently circulating in the UK, but it is understood to spread more easily. We’ve isolated all the cases of the variant which we’ve identified locally, but we can’t take any chances and we need to take further action.

“Surge testing is a really effective way of detecting and isolating cases and we’re working hard to start this in Kirklees.

“We will continue to work with Government and partners in the NHS to increase vaccine take up and how we can support residents more to isolate. In the meantime, I’m urging everyone in Kirklees to be extra cautious and stick to the public guidance.

“Deaths and hospitalisations related to the virus remain at a low level in Kirklees with our successful start to the vaccine rollout having an impact. But we have to make sure our infection rate does not continue to increase and lead to these numbers rising too.

“We all need to continue to play our part so we can get Kirklees through the roadmap out of lockdown safely."