Testing, tracing, isolation support and vaccine roll out to areas with more cases of Covid-19 are all measures that will be deployed in Liverpool City Region as a way to help reduce the spread of the Delta (Indian) variant of Covid-19.

These measures, along with the guidance to wash hands regularly, wear a face covering, keep your distance from others, will help towards tackling increasing infection rates in the borough.

As part of the guidance there is extra guidance on steps people can take, such as minimising travel into and out of the affected areas to help protect others and reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 further afield.

Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: “The Delta variant is spreading across the North West and we are now experiencing community transmission. Case numbers have risen quickly in just a few weeks, with latest data showing a case rate of 55.9 per 100,000 people up to June 11.

“The vast majority of those now ending up in hospital with Covid are unvaccinated. Vaccinations are without doubt our way out of this and I want to thank all those who have had the jab – I’ve had my two jabs and strongly encourage everyone to have them when they can. Our thanks of course go to the local NHS, CCG, public health, council staff and Saints who have facilitated such a successful distribution of the vaccines.

“What we need to do now is keep going with the vaccination roll-out, and ideally extend it to as many people as possible, including all those over 18. Myself and other local leaders have written to government twice – and yesterday on a call with ministers I asked them directly – for the ability to expand our vaccine roll-out. Sadly they refused and insisted we need to stick to the same programme being followed nationally, but we’ll keep pushing.

“In the meantime, we all need to follow the basics to keep ourselves, our loved ones and each other safe, get tested regularly, and get vaccinated when you can.”

People are encouraged to continue to work from home where ever possible and to try to meet friends and family from outside your home in outdoor spaces were the risk of transmission is lower.

Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, added: “If you have the opportunity to have your vaccination now please sign up without delay. It’s also important to remember that if you’re over 50 or clinically vulnerable you can bring your second dose forward to eight weeks rather than 12 weeks. If you’re still waiting and eligible make sure to get it as quickly as you can as studies show the second dose will have a huge impact on reducing your risk.

“While vaccines generally help reduce the risk of serious illness if you do catch Covid-19 it does not stop you from being at risk of catching or transmitting it to other more vulnerable people. With increasing cases it’s also vital that you also get a symptom free rapid lateral flow test twice a week. These tests provide a result within 30 minutes and can help us find people without symptoms or before they develop them and isolate them quickly to reduce the spread. You can get a test at St Mary’s Market or Chester Lane Library or from our mobile testing unit which is across the borough throughout the week.

“Alternatively you can pick them up at pharmacies across the borough or order them to be delivered for free to your home. By working together we can reduce the risk of spread and protect our communities. However, if you have symptoms like a high temperature, or a new, continuous cough or a loss of sense of taste or smell to isolate and book a PCR test immediately by visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus or calling 119”.

Further details of extra steps to help support our communities to tackle Covid-19 will be announced in the coming days.

To find out more about testing visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested

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