Extra measures will be put in place in further areas of the north west to tackle a rise in cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus.
Additional support will be introduced in Blackpool, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Liverpool City Region and Warrington, as well as in Birmingham, the Department of Health has announced.
The package, which is the same as was announced for Greater Manchester and Lancashire last week, will see more support for surge testing, tracing, isolation support and maximising vaccine uptake after a number of cases of the Delta variant were detected in the areas.
Health and Social Care 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.”
Those living in the areas will also be given extra guidance including to minimise travel in and out of the affected areas, maintain social distancing and socialise outdoors rather than indoors.
Local authorities will also be given additional resources, including military aid, to help with delivering tests and there will be support for supervised in-school testing and surge testing.
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Chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “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.”