Calderdale Council’s Director for Public Health, Deborah Harkins, said:
“The discovery and rapid increase of the new strain of COVID-19 is extremely concerning and although we know the rate is particularly high in Tier 4 locations, unfortunately the strain is almost certainly already in our area.
“Studies are ongoing into the properties of the new strain, but we do know that it is extremely infectious and if you come in to contact with someone with this strain you are far more likely to catch it.
“I would urge everyone to be even more stringent in following the guidelines, and limit contact with others as much as possible. If people have travelled to our area from London, the South-East or Wales in recent days we also recommend that they act as though they have the new strain and self-isolate at home, with no visitors allowed in that house at all for 10 days, even on Christmas Day.
“We know this is further upsetting news, but it’s so important we take this seriously. The virus doesn’t take time off for Christmas and the infection rate in Calderdale is still very high. There is a real risk of Christmas mixing increasing rates further, putting lives at risk and adding to existing pressure on the NHS.
“Even if you haven’t travelled from elsewhere in the country, the best way we can all show our love for our friends and family is to follow the three big things – keep contact with other people to a minimum, wear a face covering indoors with people we don’t live with, and self-isolate when necessary.
“We want people to have an enjoyable festive period, but above all it should be a safe one. It’s so important that we consider the serious potential consequences of our actions and don’t put loved ones at risk.”