Covid-19 support stepped up in bid to beat the virus

Liverpool City Region is among the areas to receive additional support to tackle a rapid rise in cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

The number of people confirmed with the virus in Liverpool has trebled in the last week – up from 202 to 620, giving a weekly rate of 124.5 per 100,000 population. It is the highest rate seen in the city since the end of February.

Hotspot wards include Central, Greenbank, Princes Park and Riverside, which between them account for around 40 per cent of cases – which are also the wards with the lowest take-up of the vaccine.

The biggest increase in infections at the moment is among the 18-24 age group.

The enhanced support across the entire City Region, which also includes Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral as well as Warrington, will see increased efforts to encourage residents to get the Covid-19 vaccine to help protect them from the virus.

Extra capacity will be made available in areas where there are high infection rates, along with ensuring there is sufficient capacity to meet demand for contact tracing.

Public Health officials are also working with schools to look at additional measures that can be brought in to help reduce the spread such as: encouraging pupils to wear face coverings in communal areas and the possible reintroduction of supervised in-school testing for the remainder of the summer term.

A request has also been made by city region leaders for increased vaccine supply and flexibility over how it is deployed.

Director of Public Health Matthew Ashton said: “The recent rise in cases is extremely concerning and is a stark reminder that Covid-19 has not gone away.

“The vaccine offers the best possible protection against becoming seriously ill and I would urge everyone who is eligible to get one as soon as possible, even if you have already had Covid, and to also encourage their family and friends to do the same.

“We know that we have more work to do in some communities and areas of the city to increase take-up and we are absolutely focused on that.

“It is really important that people continue to get tested regularly, particularly if you are attending school or a workplace, because you can spread it without knowing you have it.  

“This also applies if you have had the vaccine, because while you have good protection, you could be transmitting it to others who haven’t had the jab.

“A combination of getting a vaccine, being tested regularly, isolating and getting a PCR test if you have symptoms, abiding by social distancing, wearing face coverings and not gathering in large groups indoors is the key to us keeping rates under control and making sure we don’t head back towards more draconian measures.

“Hand, face, space and fresh air are all as important now as they were when the virus was at its height.

“By all playing a part, we give ourselves the best possible opportunity to get back to normal life in the not too distant future.”

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Liverpool Waterfront